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Romney spent several weeks discussing a potential run with Republicans in Utah and Washington, telling friends he was interested in running for Senate, six sources told The Atlantic.

"The rumors are just rumors until Senator Hatch decides he wants to do", said Jason Perry, Director of Hinckley Institute of Politics. He lost to then-incumbent Sen.

Hatch told CNN on Friday that he speaks to Romney regularly - but deflected questions about Romney, the former MA governor who is Mormon and owns a home in Utah, replacing him, saying it is "early to talk about this stuff". Romney was openly critical of President Trump as the 2016 election progressed, but scaled back his vocal opposition after Trump won the presidency and considered Romney for US secretary of state.

Experts say there is no way Romney will run for the seat without Hatch's blessing. Orrin Hatch to retire. Hatch told National Journal last week, "If I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position, I might very well consider [retiring]".

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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".

He added that the 'overhyped intrigue. doesn't reflect the reality of the situation, especially this soon after the last election'.

Also, if Hatch decides to retire, Romney would want someone of the Mormon faith in the Senate to defend the church, which he belongs to.

Even though Huntsman will likely be deployed to Russian Federation as ambassador for the Trump administration, Romney's interest had already been piqued. Back in February, he told the Deseret News that "all doors are open", but he didn't have any predictions on what he might do.