Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may soon be back in the spotlight, with talk around the country that he may run for the U.S. Senate in Utah.
Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday he's retiring, and that has led to rampant speculation Romney may seek to replace him in a state where he has strong ties.
Long-time Romney family friend and former adviser Charley Manning says he wouldn't be surprised if Romney runs.
"Mitt is Mr. Fix-It, and the folks in Utah know that better than anyone," said Manning. "The people out there know him really well."
Romney has lived in Utah for several years, and he's a popular figure there. He's widely credited with saving the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He graduated from Brigham Young University, and his family has deep Mormon roots.
"I don't think he had any intention of ever running for office again after his last presidential race," said Ryan Williams, a former spokesman from Romney's days as governor and in his two presidential races. "But he is concerned about the future of the country and this is an opportunity I think he would consider given his desire to serve the public."
Tom Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, says Romney would be a near-lock to win and it could signal something else.
"It suggests to me that Mitt Romney still hasn't given up that Potomac Dream," said Whalen. "He wants to be president of the United States and this would be a major item on his resume."
In a Facebook post following Hatch's announcement, Romney dropped no hints about his own political future.