SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Republican Senator Orrin Hatch doesn't think Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson will run against him next year.
What's more, Hatch isn't ruling out yet another run in 2018.
In his first extensive interview since Congressman Chaffetz said he wouldn't run against him, Senator Hatch talked about Matheson, a possible 8th term and why Chaffetz should stay in the House.
Senator Hatch, not surprisingly, thinks Jason Chaffetz made the right decision to stay in the House of Representatives.
Not that the senator was worried about getting the boot from the former BYU kicker.
ABC 4: "I always got the impression you were confident you could beat him?”
Senator Hatch: “Well, let's put it this way. I am a hard worker and no one is going to shove me around very often."
But now, there's a possible political threat from Congressman Jim Matheson.
Matheson is said to be looking at a run for either congress, governor or Hatch's senate seat.
But Hatch doubts that last one is going to happen.
ABC 4: "What do you think about Congressman Matheson possibly running?”
Hatch: “We're good friends. Actually, I think Jim is not going to do this."
Now, if Hatch doesn't have to run against either Chaffetz or Matheson, his reelection odds are much higher.
So, we asked the 77 year old senator - if he wins next year - would he run again in 2018?
ABC 4: "Will that be it? Will that be your last term?”
Senator Hatch: “Well, let me put it to you this way..."
For those playing at home, that was neither a yes or a no answer.
So, we asked the senator again.
ABC 4: "That almost sounds like, if you're reelected, you would leave open the option of running for another term after that?”
Senator: Hatch: “Well, I think it's too early to make any decision there. It's unlikely I would run again but I wouldn't foreclose it."
Orrin Hatch says he has now been in the U.S. Senate longer than all but two or three other senators.
Our exclusive interview with Senator Hatch can be seen this Sunday at 7:30, right here on ABC 4.