“Facing his most competitive reelection in years, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) pledged in 2012 that this would be his final term. But as 2018 nears, Utah Republicans and politicos are betting that he will make another run. A little more than a year into his gig as president pro tempore of the Senate—a job that comes with a security detail and leaves him third in line to the presidency—observers and former staffers said they see no sign of the 82-year-old slowing down, especially if Republicans hang onto the Senate.”
“Hatch stoked speculation that he could seek reelection in a 2014 radio interview, when the seven-term senator suggested that he might stick around if the Senate was in the middle of tax reform. … Tax reform could drag out to 2018, but some state Republicans suggest the future of the Supreme Court ignites a more compelling case for another Hatch term.”
“If he does run, Hatch should probably expect another contentious race. … State Republicans have thrown around names of potential challengers, including former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R), who lost to Hatch in 2012, Mitt Romney’s son Josh, and state Sen. Deidre Henderson (R). … Liljenquist said he’s considering another run but won’t make a decision for at least a year.”
“A change in Utah’s primary-election laws could benefit Hatch. The state legislature passed a bill in 2014 that allows candidates to bypass the party convention and secure a spot on the primary ballot by gathering signatures. This could act as a safety net for the senator if opponents try to shut him out at the convention, as two tea-party-backed candidates did to former Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010. The state GOP is challenging the law in court.”
“If Hatch sticks by his 2012 declaration that this is his final term, the race to replace him will have no shortage of possible candidates. Of Utah’s four-member House delegation, many state Republicans think Rep. Chris Stewart (R) is the most likely contender for an open seat. … Spokesmen for Reps. Rob Bishop and Mia Love both said they do not intend to run for Senate in 2018.”
“Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in an interview that ‘it’s doubtful’ he would give up his spot as chairman of the Oversight committee to become a freshman senator, adding that he finds the 2020 governorship race more appealing.” (Hotline reporting)
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he's accepting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's offer to hold an immigration vote at a later date, "clearing the way for passage of a bill to reopen the federal government" today. "McConnell early Monday promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation, under an open amendment process, if Democrats would agree to end the government shutdown."
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday promised to take up an immigration bill protecting an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation and allow an open amendment process if Democrats agree to reopen the government." He may need up to a dozen Democratic votes.
Twitter is notifying 677,775 U.S. users "who followed, retweeted, or liked tweets from accounts of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian government-linked troll farm." The social media company has so far identified 50,258 Russian-linked bot accounts that tweeted around the election. According to analysis, the hashtag #SchumerShutdown has become the top trending hashtag promoted by Russian bots on Twitter in the past 48 hours. The Alliance for Securing Democracy, found that the accounts have used the hashtag more than 700 times. (Politico)
The updated timetable, which Pence announced, represents an acceleration of plans to formalize their recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. "'By finally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the United States has chosen fact over fiction — and fact is the only true foundation for a just and lasting peace,' he added. Israeli Arab lawmakers staged a walk out during Pence's address at the beginning of his speech, while Palestinian officials snubbed Pence’s visit to parliament. Netenyahu described the U.S.-Israel relationship as a 'remarkable alliance' which has 'never been stronger.'"