Salt Lake City, UT—The Senate’s most senior Republican—Utah’s Orrin Hatch—and one of the principle authors of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), may run for his eighth term in the Senate in 2018. According to Politico, unnamed Republican Party operatives are saying that Hatch is seriously considering running, though he will likely not make a final decision until the current election is over. This would reverse his 2012 declaration that he would retire at the end of his current term.
A longtime ally of the dietary supplement industry, Hatch and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced DSHEA in the Senate in 1994, and it was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 25, 1994. If the 82-year old Senator runs again, according to Politico, he could draw a primary challenge from Republicans that have been trying to run for a statewide seat since Hatch first announced his retirement plans. Hatch is viewed by some conservative activists as too moderate, though he easily defeated a challenger from the right in 2012 despite his colleague, former Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) losing his primary in 2010 to a similar challenge.
Many of the Republicans interviewed in the report said that another run by the senator would both help his state and keep the upper rungs of Senate leadership relatively stable. Indeed, Hatch has likely never been more powerful in the Senate than he is today.