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REPORT: Orrin Hatch Will Retire And Romney Intends To Take His Place

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: Salt Lake City Olympic Committee President Mitt Romney (L) listens to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, prior to a news conference, 03 October 2001 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Utah Olympic delegation has been meeting with law enforcement officials of the FBI and Department of Justice to review security measures for the 2002 Winter Olympics in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. AFP PHOTO/Mike THEILER (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: Salt Lake City Olympic Committee President Mitt Romney (L) listens to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, prior to a news conference, 03 October 2001 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Utah Olympic delegation has been meeting with law enforcement officials of the FBI and Department of Justice to review security measures for the 2002 Winter Olympics in the wake of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. AFP PHOTO/Mike THEILER (Photo credit should read MIKE THEILER/AFP/Getty Images)

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Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch is planning on retiring from the Senate and Mitt Romney is planning on running for his seat, according to a report released Thursday.

Hatch has reportedly told close friends in Utah that he is planning to retire at the end of his term in 2018 and that Romney intends to run for his seat, five sources familiar with the situation told The Atlantic.

Moves are purportedly already in place for Hatch to retire and for Romney to run for his seat, although the sources caveated this is still secret and that anything could happen. (RELATED: Romney Plans 2018 Senate Run)

Hatch is not likely to make a final decision on whether to run in 2018 until December, effectively preventing a field of challengers from assembling. Romney has yet to publicly commit to a Senate run, but he has reportedly decided to run in the event that Hatch steps down after his seventh term, sources close to Romney told Utah Policy.

“Senator Hatch is focused on leading the Senate’s efforts to pass historic tax reform, confirming strong judges to courts around the country, and continuing to fight through the gridlock to deliver results for Utah. He has not made a final decision about whether or not to seek reelection, but plans to by the end of the year,” a spokesperson for Hatch told The Atlantic.

At 83, Hatch is one of the oldest senators in the country. He is also the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history.

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