SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch raised nearly $1 million over the past three months, though his plans to run for an eighth term remain unclear.
The Utah Republican pulled in $945,382 from July through September and has $4.7 million in his campaign account, according his latest Federal Election Commission report.
During that same period, Democratic candidate Jenny Wilson raised $155,454. After expenditures, she has $139,582 in cash on hand, her FEC report shows.
Hatch, the 83-year-old chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, has said he intends to seek re-election barring any unforseen health concerns for him or his wife. He has yet to make a formal campaign announcement.
The senator's doctor released a report showing Hatch is in excellent physical and mental health, spokesman Matt Whitlock said.
"The senator has made no secret, however, of recent deterioration in his vision following a procedure approximately 18 months ago that negatively impacted roughly 60 percent of his vision. Fortunately, this procedure has in no way affected Sen. Hatch’s work and his ability to serve his constituents. In the meantime, he appreciates everyone’s patience with his occasional squinting," Whitlock said.
Hatch has spent the past few days defending himself against a Washington Post story accusing him and other lawmakers of sneaking through a bill that weakens the Drug Enforcement Agency's ability to go after drug distributors and perpetuates the opioid crisis.
The senator called the accusations "complete baloney" during a Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. He said every member of committee — Republicans and Democrats — supported the legislation, and the full Senate approved it by unanimous consent.
"So I don’t want to hear anyone claim they didn’t know anything about this bill," Hatch said.
He also lamented that the Post story prompted Rep. Tom Marino, R-Penn., to withdraw his nomination as the nation's drug czar. Marino spearheaded the legislation.
Wilson blasted Hatch's reaction to the news story, saying it illustrates everything that’s wrong with Washington.
"Hatch has jumped into action to defend his reputation, his lobbyist connections, and his fundraising,” she said in a statement.
The law costs lives, Wilson said.
“Now it has cost Marino his next cushy Washington job. But it has cost Hatch nothing, except clearing his schedule for a round-robin game of finger-pointing and excuse-making," she said.
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