Utah Republican Boyd Matheson is forgoing a 2018 Senate campaign, a decision that further opens the door for Mitt Romney to run.
Matheson, a former chief of staff to Utah Sen. Mike Lee and the president of the conservative Sutherland Institute think tank, announced on Monday that he would not run for the seat currently held by longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is 83 and deciding whether to seek another term.
Romney appears increasingly likely to launch a campaign if Hatch calls it quits. The 2012 GOP presidential nominee, who is currently residing in Utah, has been increasing his political activity in the state. Romney recently attended a Sutherland Institute gala and has been in touch with a number of key Republican players in the state, including Lee, the state’s junior senator.