I was an amateur boxer in my youth, and I brought that fighting spirit with me to Washington. After cycling through his accomplishments and the praise he has received from President Trump, Hatch called himself a "fighter", but also acknowledged "every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves".
"I didn't see Governor Romney file papers to run for Orrin Hatch's seat".
Romney, the former MA governor who now lives in Utah, thanked Hatch in a statement on Facebook and said Hatch "has represented the interests of Utah with distinction and honor".
Hatch is the second-longest serving current US senator, serving for more than 40 years.
Hatch's announcement rejuvenated already lively talk of a possible Romney return to the political arena. As the top lawmaker on the panel, Hatch played a key role in passing the tax bill that Trump signed into law late last month.
"It would be hard to defeat Mitt Romney if he were running here", said David Hansen, a longtime Utah Republican strategist and chairman of Mr. Hatch's political organization.
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Hatch, 83, was first elected in 1976 and had spent months publicly deliberating about whether to stand again for reelection in November.
He also has drawn the ire of Trump's former White House adviser, Steve Bannon, who recently derided Romney as a draft dodger who "hid behind" his Mormon religion to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.
"Congratulations to Senator Orrin Hatch on an absolutely incredible career".
Romney broke his silence on Facebook moments after Hatch's announcement, congratulating the retiring senator, listing his credentials and saying he and his wife wish them "all the best in their future endeavors".
Brown, a liberal firebrand, said people know Republicans want to help the rich because it's "in their DNA".
The Utah Republican is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Should they decide to run, their presence might be a welcome bit of nostalgia to GOP voters tired by Trump's presidency; but they could also provide an unwelcome flashback.
Hatch frequently wrote religious songs and recorded music in his spare time as a way to relax.