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For week ended June 20, 1999 Posted 19 Jun 1999

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Summarized by 'Kent S. Larsen II'

Hatch to announce presidential bid next week, friends and aides report
Salt Lake Tribune 17Jun99 L1
By John Heilprin: Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the LDS Church, is expected to announce as early as next week that he will form an exploratory committee to seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Hatch would become the first Utahn from a major party to seek the presidency.

"He feels in large part he's doing this for his home state," saidHatch's Senate campaign manager Spencer Stokes. However, Stokes noted: "There's only one person who really knows if he's going to do it or not, and that's Orrin Hatch." Hatch is scheduled to return to Utah from Washington on Friday. Any announcement could come as early as next week.

Signs that the senator is considering the run for the presidency have increased in recent weeks, as he has discussed with advisors how to build organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire, two states with crucial early primary elections. "I've heard he's getting some people and making arrangements to run a campaign organization for president in those early primary states," said Rep. Merrill Cook, R-Utah. "It's great! One of our own -- running for president."

Earlier this month, Hatch admitted he was considering the run at a state GOP convention. "I'd be the longest of the long shots, I know that," he said at that time. "I just hope whatever I do my fellow Utahns will respect me and support me. Everyone knows . . . it's very late in the game. It'll be very, very tough to raise the money. I'll have to call on my fellow Utahns, my fellow conservatives all over the country, especially Reagan conservatives. . . . I'm not sure I need as much money as George Bush."

The current frontrunner among republicans is clearly Texas governor George W. Bush, son of the former president. Bush has already raised nearly $30 million. Hatch's organization thinks he will need $12 million by February to be competitive. He would hope to raise at least $2 million in Utah. Election law prevents him from getting more than $1,000 from an individual or $5,000 from a committee during an election cycle. However, Hatch does have nearly $700,000 in his Senate re-election coffers, but using that money might have some disadvantages.

A number of other republicans have filed campaign finance documents necessary for preparing a presidential bid. They are Lamar Alexander, Gary Bauer, Pat Buchanan, Elizabeth Dole, Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle and Robert Smith.

If he does run for president, Hatch would become one of a handful of LDS Church members to launch serious campaigns for the presidency. In addition to Joseph Smith, who was a candidate for President in 1844 when he was murdered, George Romney, former governor of Michigan, ran for President in 1968, seeking the Republican nomination. Romney bowed-out at the Republican convention, throwing his support to Richard Nixon. As a result, Romney gained a cabinet-level position as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

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