WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said Tuesday he will not seek re-election after serving more than 40 years in the Senate, opening the door for 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to run for his seat.
The 83-year-old Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, opted for retirement despite a full-court press from President Donald Trump to stay in Washington, particularly as Romney's ambition for the seat became apparent.
Romney was a critic of Trump's during the 2016 election and could be a potential thorn in the president's side in the Senate.
Hatch said he decided to retire at the end of his seventh term after “much prayer and discussion with family and friends” over the holidays. He said he's always been a fighter, “but every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves.”
“Only in a nation like ours could someone like me – the scrappy son of a simple carpenter – grow up to become a United States senator,” he added.
US coal mining deaths nearly double
Coal mining deaths surged in the U.S. in 2017, one year after they hit a record low.
The nation's coal mines recorded 15 deaths last year, including eight in West Virginia, two in Kentucky and one each in Alabama, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. In 2016, there were eight U.S. coal mine deaths.
West Virginia has led the nation in coal mining deaths in six of the past eight years. That includes 2010, when 29 miners were killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine.
Teen kills parents, sister, family friend
Prosecutors say four people slain by a boy in a New Jersey shore town on New Year's Eve were shot multiple times at close range.
A 16-year-old has been charged in the killings of his parents, his sister and a family friend. Three other people who were in the house in Long Branch escaped unharmed.
Prosecutors say the rifle used in the killing had a 15-round magazine and was bought legally by another family member.
Store blaze spreads to NYC apartments
The Fire Department of New York says 23 people, including a firefighter were hurt in a Bronx blaze. All of them are expected to be OK.
Investigators believe the fire started in a first-floor furniture store about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Adults and children fled from the three stories of apartments above.
63 at party arrested for pot possession
About 70 people at a Christmas lingerie party have been arrested and charged with marijuana possession in Georgia.
News outlets report that Cartersville police said in a statement that officers responded to a suburban home about 40 miles from Atlanta early Sunday. Partygoers told police the loud sounds were fireworks, not gunshots.
The Cartersville Daily Tribune reports that police found evidence of drugs and started an investigation. It's not clear how much pot police found, but at least 63 people were charged with possession of less than 1 ounce.