Could Romney take Hatch’s place in the Senate?

Posted at 9:43 PM, Apr 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-06 23:43:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Is former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney thinking of taking Orrin Hatch's place in the Senate?

Despite Senator Hatch still deciding if he'll run for an eighth term rumors about Romney are flying.

“The rumors are just rumors until Senator Hatch decides he wants to do,” said Jason Perry, Director of Hinckley Institute of Politics.

The question if Romney will go for the Senate seat comes on the heels of Hatch's statement last week saying he would step down if someone like Romney ran.

“I think it's just that. They're just rumors. I think it's all sparked by the off the cuff remark that Senator Hatch made about perhaps stepping down for a Mitt Romney type run,” said James Evans, Utah Republican Party Chair.

On Thursday, "The Atlantic" published an article saying Romney is taking the potential Senate bid seriously.

“The reality is Utah loves Mitt Romney and there’s a reason he rises to the list when people start thinking of replacements for Senator Hatch,” Perry said.

The Atlantic article also says "two people close to Romney say he didn't show a real interest in the Senate race until Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah governor and longtime rival, began to consider a bid."

“You have to think Jon Huntsman is looking at it. He's a young man. He's someone who already made one run for the presidency who could potential make a run for the Senate,” Chambless said.

Political experts say the rumors should be taken with a grain of salt.

“Welcome to politics. There's a lot of chatter. You just have to sift through that and wait to see the actions from individuals,” Evans said.

Experts say there is no way Romney will run for the seat without Hatch’s blessing.

Hatch released a statement to FOX 13 saying in part: "while I have taken steps to run, I have yet to make a final decision.”