SALT LAKE CITY -- As the dust clears from the 2016 election, Utah Republicans have already turned their attention to 2018 and whether longtime U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch will stick to his word that he won't run for re-election.
Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, said four years ago that his current term will be his last.
But in recent weeks, he's opened the door to another six years, saying he has more work to do and is being encouraged to run again — a move that could shake up plans for a number of high-profile Utah politicians who've been waiting in the wings, hoping for a chance to seek a rare open Senate seat.
Two potential candidates — former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and World Trade Center Utah leader Derek Miller — say Hatch's decision will impact their potential campaigns but neither ruled out a challenge to the seven-term Republican.