The former presidential candidate and “Never Trump” activist Evan McMullin has urged Mitt Romney to run for the Senate seat in Utah, following Sen. Orin Hatch’s (R-UT) announcement that he will retire at the end of his current term.
“Thank you for your service to our state and country, Senator Hatch. In this seat, we must have a leader prepared to meet the challenges of our day and our future,” McMullin wrote on Twitter. “I hope that leader will be @MittRomney.
Thank you for your service to our state and country, Senator Hatch.
— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) January 2, 2018
McMullin, who is a former CIA officer turned politician, ran for the presidency himself in Utah in 2016 in an effort to derail Donald Trump’s campaign, although Trump ended up winning the state by over 200,000 votes.
Since his loss to Barack Obama in 2012, many have speculated about Romney making a return to frontline politics, although no formal plans have materialized. Despite refusing to endorse Trump’s election campaign, Romney was strongly considered for the role of Secretary of State.
Romney has long been touted as a potential replacer for Hatch, who in April described him as a “perfect” for the role, although his virulent opposition to the Trump movement would likely upset large swathes of the Republican base.
Both McMullin and Romney were fierce opponents of Judge Roy Moore’s unsuccessful campaign for the Alabama Senate, with McMullin’s anti-Trump super PAC spending over $500,000 on attack ads, while Romney claimed that Moore’s election would be a “stain on the nation.”
Hatch, meanwhile, announced his retirement on Tuesday, saying that he planned more time with his family.
“After much prayer and discussion with family and friends, I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term,” said Hatch. “I may be leaving the Senate, but the next chapter in my public service is just beginning.”