If Sen. Orrin G. Hatch decides not to run for an eighth term, at least one Utah congressman is not likely to run for his Senate seat.
Rep. Rob Bishop said in an interview with C-SPAN’s Newsmakers airing Sunday that he would rather stay in the House. The Utah Republican was first elected to the House in 2002 and chairs the House Natural Resources Committee.
“The chances of me running for the Senate, even if there was an open seat, is pretty minimal,” Bishop said. “I enjoy the House. I like the House. I can’t necessarily say the same thing about the Senate. I’m a creature of the House and I find it very productive over here. I like this area.“
When asked about a potential Senate bid, Bishop, who is known for his wry sense of humor, joked, “I can’t tell you that. It’s sworn to secrecy. We’d have to kill you afterwards.”
Bishop is a senior member of the all-Republican Utah delegation, second only to Hatch. None of the delegation has said they would challenge Hatch, who is also the most senior GOP senator. Hatch said in his 2012 re-election race that he would not run again in 2018, but he is now saying he is undecided.
Hatch’s re-calculation is largely due to President Donald Trump winning the presidency. With a Republican in the White House, Hatch, who leads the powerful Finance Committee, sees an opportunity to lead on major initiatives including overhauls of the health care and tax systems.
Bishop said he was surprised that another member of their delegation decided not to run for re-election. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, recently announced he was retiring, and he may step down before his current term ends.
“I was surprised. He had talked to me about it earlier,” Bishop said. “I didn’t actually expect him to pull the trigger to be honest. But i believe him when he said he wants to spend more time with his family.”