Orrin Hatch, Longest Serving GOP Senator, Dies at Age 88

GOP Senator Orrin Hatch
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The longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. History died on Saturday evening in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was 88 years old.

The longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history died Saturday evening in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was 88 years old.

Orrin Hatch, who formerly represented Utah in the Senate and served as Senate president pro tempore, held the seat for over five decades, from 1976 to his retirement in January 2019. 

The news was confirmed through a press release from The Hatch Foundation.

“Born the son of a carpenter and plaster lather, he overcame the poverty of his youth to become a United States Senator. With the hardships of his upbringing always fresh in his mind, he made it his life’s mission to expand freedom and opportunity for others — and the results speak for themselves. From tax and trade to religious liberty and healthcare, few legislators have had a greater impact on American life than Orrin Hatch,” the statement reads in part. 

Hatch was a staunch conservative, who supported limited government, deregulation and military spending. He also has voted in favor of abortion restrictions and against LGBTQ+ rights.

When it came to working with his Democratic counterparts, Hatch worked with them on legislation regarding stem cell research and the failed DREAM act. 

In 2000, he briefly ran for president, but ended his bid after the Iowa caucuses and endorsed George W. Bush. 

President Biden worked with Hatch in congress for three decades, and weighed in on his passing. In a statement he said of Hatch, “When I cast my 10,000th vote in the Senate, Orrin came to the Senate floor and we had a chance to speak. I said that the greatest perk one has as a Senator was access to people with serious minds, a serious sense of purpose, and who cared about something. That was Orrin.” 

Hatch is survived by his wife Elaine and their six children.