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Ravell Call/Deseret News/File

Hatch raises $1.3M for possible re-election run

By Michelle L. Price - Associated Press  |  Posted Apr 12th, 2017 @ 3:31pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch raised about $1.3 million in campaign donations the first three months of this year as he prepares for a possible re-election run next year, according to fundraising numbers provided by Hatch's office Wednesday.

The long-serving Senate Republican pledged in 2012 that his current term would be his last but did an about-face late last year and said he was considering running again.

The amount Hatch raised from January through March is more than he collected in all of 2016. The senator ended March with $3.5 million overall in his campaign account.

His full fundraising report for the first quarter of 2017 that provides details about donors and his spending was not ready to be released Wednesday, according to Hatch's office. It does not have to be filed with the Federal Election Commission until April 15.

Hatch said in a statement that he is preparing for a re-election campaign but has not made a final decision on whether to seek an eighth term.

"I have never taken any election for granted, and I would relish the opportunity to put my record before the voters," he said. "While I have taken steps to run, I have yet to make a final decision. I remain focused on my work in the Senate and will make any political decisions in due course."

Hatch, 83, has said he might not run again if former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who now lives in Utah, would consider running.

Romney's representatives did not responded to messages Wednesday seeking comment about whether he is interested in running.

Hatch has been in office for 40 years and serves as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate president pro tem, making him third in line to succeed the president.

He spent more than $10 million to win his last re-election in 2012, a record for a Utah race.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., who was considering a run for Hatch's seat, has accepted a post in the Trump administration as the U.S. ambassador to Russia.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent who mounted an independent run for president last year, have also been mentioned as potential candidates in the race. Both have said they are not ruling out the idea.

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