“As I was thinking about retiring I was thinking, ‘I don’t want some dud to replace me,’” Hatch said. “I want somebody who’s capable and could carry on some of the things I’ve worked so hard to do. And Romney fits that bill 100 percent in my opinion.

“He would be low in seniority,” Hatch added. “But he would have immediate attention because of his personality, his attractive appearance and ability to speak, and the experiences he’s had.”

Hatch had not been thinking about Romney as a possible Senate candidate until he saw a comment from Romney in early February. While at a staff celebration of the 15-year anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Romney mentioned the 2018 US Senate race to a Deseret News reporter.

“I don’t have any predictions on what I might do,” Romney said. “I’m not going to open a door and I’m not going to close a door. All doors are open.”