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Orrin Hatch announces retirement, leaving opening for Romney

Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Finance Committee chairman, President Pro Tempore of the Senate and longest-serving Republican senator, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of this term, his seventh.

Why it matters: Mitt Romney has been considering a run in the event Hatch retires. President Trump had urged Hatch to seek re-election, in part to block Romney. Romney has moved from "willing to run" to "wanting to run" in recent weeks, MSNBC's Garrett Haake reports. He released a statement on Hatch's retirement Tuesday, but did not comment on running for the open seat.

Worth noting: Thad Cochran will replace Hatch as President Pro Tempore should he win re-election and Republicans keep control of the Senate. If Cochran also retires, the title will go to Chuck Grassley. If Democrats win the post goes to Pat Leahy.

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