Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Who Is Orrin Hatch? The Utah Senator Is Resigning, & It’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Ad failed to load

What has already promised to be an interesting mid-term election just became more riveting. In a somewhat surprising move, Orrin Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, announced on Jan. 2 that he will not seek re-election this year. Hatch is the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, having taken office in 1977. And many believe that Orrin Hatch's retirement announcement will pave the way for once-presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to take the Senate seat.

Hatch released a brief two minute video announcing his decision on Jan. 2, 2018 — the first day of the new year's Senate session. He said, “Every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves. And for me, that time is soon approaching. That’s why after much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.”

And while many Utahns are reportedly ready to say goodbye to their long-time representative, with almost 8 in 10 surveyed saying that Hatch should retire, one high-powered individual is decidedly going against the flow of popular opinion: President Donald Trump has reportedly spent a significant amount of time and energy trying to convince Hatch — who is very publicly loyal to Trump and his agenda — to run again.

Ad failed to load

After all, the alternative to Hatch would, in all likelihood, according to The New York Times, be OG #NeverTrump-er, Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate. This could be a problem for the president, as many experts expect a would-be-Senator Romney to be a chief Trump antagonist.

Hatch is a key Trump ally in the Senate, and his retirement would be a huge loss to the president.

Hatch's history in the Senate is one of bipartisan work: in 1993, he recommended Ruth Bader-Ginsburg to then-President Bill Clinton for the Supreme Court. He also proposed the DREAM Act, which would have given undocumented individuals a path to amnesty and which later became the Obama-era executive order, DACA.

Ad failed to load

But, of late, he has become known as a Trump loyalist, calling the mercurial leader "one of the best I've served under." He has, additionally, become relatively politically extreme: he suspended committee rules in order to confirm Trump's now-disgraced former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, and he was one of 13 Republican senators who wrote the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the much-loathed Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bill. Hatch resisted holding hearings during the numerous attempts to repeal the ACA (aka Obamacare) over the summer, only doing so during September's last-ditch attempt, the failed Graham-Cassidy bill. Further, he supported the Trump-backed Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls (Moore has denied the accusations).

But Trump was reportedly desperate not to lose Hatch. In early December, according to CNN, Trump visited Utah for the first time (as part of an announcement that he would be shrinking several federally protected parks), and he stumped for the seven-term senator. During his speech, Trump praised the senator and said that he hoped Hatch would "continue to serve your state and your country in the Senate for a very long time to come."

Ad failed to load

Now, the president is "very sad" about Hatch leaving the Senate, per White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and he also tweeted after Hatch's announcement that the senator would be "greatly missed."

Why, you may be wondering, does the president care so much about an 83-year-old who just wants to retire and enjoy his last years? Well, it's not so much about Hatch as it is about Romney, the likely frontrunner to replace Hatch.The short version: Romney made very clear during the Republican presidential primaries that he does not like Trump.

Way, waaaaaay back in March 2016, Romney became the face of the conservative "Never Trump" movement when he gave a nearly 20-minute speech, in which he called the then-candidate a "con man" and a "fake." In that same speech he also lambasted Trump's economic plan (which Hatch supported and helped pass in late Dec. 2017), saying that it would sink the country into a "prolonged recession." He also said Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric was dangerous for the country and that Trump represents "a twisted example of evil trumping good."

Ad failed to load

"Dishonesty," Romney said, "is Donald Trump’s hallmark." It was a hell of a speech.

Though later, Romney ended up eating his words: after the election he crawled back to the now-president only months after calling him "a phony, a fraud" when Trump announced Romney was being considered for Secretary of State. Romney and Trump were photographed meeting for dinner to discuss the possibility of Romney accepting the cabinet position.

Ad failed to load

Just look at the eyes. Anyways, Trump is well known for holding grudges, and now that Romney has returned to his former #NeverTrump glory, Trump likely wants to prevent an anti-Trump Republican from joining the Senate.

And according to experts, a Senator Romney would be welcome news in a state where he is loved.

Hatch's retirement announcement comes after months of rumors and of Hatch (and his office) dodging questions about the senator's plans for 2018. Rumors of Hatch's impending retirement first surfaced in April 2017, per The Atlantic, when insiders first took notice of Romney's interest in a bid for Hatch's seat. Whispers were then renewed in late October when the magazine reported that Hatch has been planning his retirement with close allies, and it would just be a matter of time.

Ad failed to load

Per that same Atlantic report, Romney only planned on running if Hatch were to retire, and many consider him a shoe-in in the conservative state. But even if Romney had decided to run against the incumbent Hatch, he would have likely had a good shot at winning: according to The Hill, a survey done in August showed that 78 percent of Utahns wanted Hatch to retire at the end of the 2018 term, 12 percent thought he should "probably" run, and only 7 percent said he should definitely run.

But Romney is not the only one reportedly running for Hatch's seat, so don't count it as a done deal yet. There's also Jenny Wilson, a Democrat and a member of the Salt Lake City's City Council. The Washington Examiner also reported that Boyd Matheson, a former chief of staff to Utah Senator Mike Lee, was thinking about running against Hatch in the Republican primary.

Ad failed to load

So, while many have written this race off as a wash, now that the unpopular senator is stepping down, only time will tell.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Your World Is About To Be Filled With Sunshine

If you've had enough of the sleepy and heavy feeling associated with Taurus season, prepare yourself for a replenishing rush of fresh energy. As of May 20, the sun has officially moved into Gemini, and the weight on your shoulders will finally start …
By Roya Backlund

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

A Dentist Reveals The Best Times To Brush Your Teeth & It's Actually So Surprising

Do you brush your teeth twice a day? If you do, you're already way ahead of me, since I usually forget about brushing my teeth before bed at least three out of seven days of the week. I'm so bad about remembering to brush my teeth before bed, that I'…
By Caroline Burke

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

How To Start Reading Tarot When You Have No Clue Where To Begin

I've been practicing tarot almost daily as part of my self-care routine for years. My favorite part of the day is putting on a face mask, pouring myself a blushing mimosa or some coffee, busting out a few crystals, and sitting down to spend a little …
By Minerva Siegel

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano