Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said Wednesday that he would support Mitt Romney if the 2012 GOP presidential nominee decides to enter the race to replace him when he retires at the end of his term.
Hatch announced his retirement in a statement on Tuesday. Romney is seen as a likely candidate for Hatch’s seat.
“I didn’t call (Romney) before I made this announcement, but I did call him a while back and explored with him what he had on his mind, and I won’t discuss what we discussed,” Hatch said on Utah’s Morning News radio program. “But there’s no question that he loves Utah and wants to support Utah anyway he can. And I’m hopeful he’ll run, because he would be just fine. And he would certainly be somebody who I think could succeed me into the job. We haven’t spoken in the last few days, but if Mitt decides to run, he knows he’ll have my support.”
Hatch added that he thought Romney would end up supporting the President on conservative agenda items in the Senate.
Earlier in the interview, Hatch said many people, including President Donald Trump, had pressured him to run for re-election.
“At the end of this year, I will have been in the United States Senate 42 years and I’ve had a lot of people, including the President, pressuring me to run again. But I just feel like it’s a good time to hang them up,” Hatch said. “We’ve got some excellent people waiting in the wings. I hope, you know, especially Mitt Romney, if he wants to run. I don’t know that he will. I would certainly feel good if he did and if the folks in Utah would support him, but there are others too. I know are our distinguished congressman from up north has certainly told me that if I ever hang them up he might run himself. So there are some really good people out there who can do it. And I feel good about it. So frankly, I’m getting up there in age where I want to spend a little more time with the family.”