Neither of the retirements announced Tuesday will alter the competitiveness of the newly opened seats, but both will be represented by a new name for the first time since the 1970s.
Sen. Orrin Hatch’s decision not to seek an eighth term was revealed just a day and a half into the new year and more than five years after he pledged not to run again. There were rumblings since then that Hatch might reconsider, and President Trump publicly encouraged him to stick around.
But, already the longest serving Republican senator ever, Hatch opted to step aside with the tax overhaul complete and his 84th birthday in a couple of months. That paves the way for Mitt Romney, who led likely Democratic nominee Jenny Wilson in a late November poll by a margin three times larger than Hatch’s.
In Pennsylvania, Rep. Bill Shuster’s retirement will end a 46-year run of a Shuster representing what is now the 9th District. Like his father, who resigned in early 2001, Shuster will leave with his chairmanship of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee term-limited.
While the district is solidly Republican, the move adds to an already intriguing year for House races in Pennsylvania, including three open seats and a competitive March special election.
— Kyle Trygstad