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Biden encourages Romney to consider Senate run in Utah

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talks with reporters in New York. Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden is encouraging former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to run for a senate seat in Utah currently held by Orrin Hatch if the senator decides to retire next year. Biden made the comment to Romney Friday, June 9, 2017 at a luxury resort in Utah, where Romney was hosting an annual invitation-only business and politics summit.. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci

  • FILE - In this May 16, 2012 file photo, Vice President Joe Biden speaks at M-7 Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio. Biden is encouraging former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to run for a senate seat in Utah currently held by Orrin Hatch if the senator decides to retire next year. Biden made the comment to Romney Friday, June 9, 2017 at a luxury resort in Utah, where Romney was hosting an annual invitation-only business and politics summit. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Tony Dejak



Associated Press
Saturday, June 10, 2017

Former Vice President Joe Biden has encouraged onetime GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for the Senate in Utah if longtime Republican incumbent Orrin Hatch decides to retire next year.

Biden made the recommendation to Romney on Friday evening at the Utah resort where Romney was hosting an annual invitation-only business and politics summit.

The Biden-Romney event, like most of the discussions and speeches at the gathering, was closed to reporters. But people who were there confirmed the conversation and described it as a warm, bipartisan talk.

Romney did not give any indication he was considering a run, should Hatch, 83, decide not to run again next year, said one person in attendance, Maryland videographer Dean Dykema.

“Mitt didn’t have a chance to ask many questions because Joe pretty much took over the show,” Dykema said.

Hatch, who has been in office since 1977, has said he hasn’t decided if he’ll seek another term but he might step aside if Romney ran.

The 70-year-old former Massachusetts governor now lives in Utah, where he’s remained popular as the man who led a turnaround of the scandal-plagued 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and as a prominent Mormon businessman and politician.

In April, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he reached out to Romney about running for Hatch’s seat, but said he’d support the longtime senator if he decided to run again.

Hatch has said he hopes Utah could get behind Romney and avoid a divisive primary like the one in 2010 that ousted his friend, the late Republican Sen. Robert Bennett.