“Senator Orrin Hatch could wait until the final day of the filing period to say 'I’m not running' and Mitt Romney would be able to step in. He’s got the financial resources, he’s got the name recognition,” said Bryan Schott, Managing Editor of UtahPolicy.com.
Senator Hatch has repeatedly said he will run for an eighth term in 2018.
During an interview on Fox 13's Good Day Utah on April 10, Senator Hatch said “I’m planning on running again, there’s no question about that. I love this state. I’m not going to let this state down if I can help it.”
On May 30, Senator Hatch was asked if he would step down to pave the way for Romney.
“He’s not going to run anyway. I think Mitt is going to do other things in life,” responded Senator Hatch.
In response to the new report by UtahPolicy.com, a spokesman for Hatch released a statement.
"As much as we love to support our local media outlets, this is the 3rd or 4th time we have seen this same report without any new sources or any new information. Nothing has changed, Senator Hatch is focused on the critical work of the Senate, and he plans to make a final decision by the end of the year.” wrote Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for the senator.
The statement differs from the senator’s previous statements to Fox 13 News, leaving the decision on whether or not to run open until the end of the year.
“It’s all going to happen when Hatch decides what he is going to do,” said Schott, in reference to Romney’s potential campaign.
UtahPolicy.com also polled voters in a variety of scenarios for the seat Senator Hatch currently holds. Against Jenny Wilson, a potential Democratic candidate, Senator Hatch trailed by eleven percent. In the same matchup, Romney led Wilson by thirty eight percent.