Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has announced he will retire from the Senate at the end of his current term (at the end of this year).
Hatch is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and helped draft the Trump-backed tax-cut bill, which drew praise from broadcast and cable trade groups. Hatch has been one of the new President's staunchest supporters, as well as a familiar face to communications policymakers.
Hatch is currently the longest-serving Republican member of the Senate (in his seventh term), but the former amateur fighter said it was soon going to be time to "hang up the gloves." The senator announced his impending retirement in a video he tweeted out:
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) January 2, 2018
As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and since then, Hatch has pushed for copyright reforms. He was also instrumental in reauthorizations of various incarnations of satellite license legislation, efforts to crack down on so-called patent trolls and As chair of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, he backed a free and open internet, the "free" being free of burdensome government regs and the "open" meaning open for business--he co-sponsored legislation to try and block Title II reclassification back in 2010.
Speculation has focused on Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate, as a possible successor to the seat. Romney, who is not one of the President's fans, ran unsuccessfully for a Massachusetts senate seat against Ted Kennedy.