One of the key players in the state Legislature's immigration debate is eyeing a run against U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, hasn't made a final decision on the run yet, but has said he is giving serious consideration to an intraparty challenge to Hatch.
"I'm doing my best to weigh out my options, and then I'll try to make a decision," Herrod said. "Running for the Senate is an option that I've been looking at."
Herrod was a leading player in the immigration debates during the 2011 state legislative session. Herrod stood strong for Utah's enforcement-only legislation, in regards to immigration, and was a main critic of the guest worker law, House Bill 116. Herrod noted that a run for the Senate would be intriguing to him because he would be able to address immigration reform on a national level.
"Nobody seems to have the courage to address immigration on the national scale," he said.
Herrod says he would take on immigration reform if he were elected to the Senate. Herrod would likely bring a passion and personal perspective to the issue. His wife and business partner are both immigrants, which explains Herrod's main call in immigration debates -- a call for policy that is fair to those trying to immigrate into the country legally.
Another issue Herrod said he would like to take on is the federal lands issue in Utah.
"I care greatly about the lands issue, its relationship to education and energy issues," he said.
Herrod would have a built-in support group should he choose to run against Hatch. Herrod gained a following of supporters during the past year, thanks in part to his stance on HB 116.
"I think he would make a great senator, he really has worked hard on the immigration issue and he would be great to have back in D.C.," said Keri Witte, a GOP party delegate who sponsored the resolution calling on Republican lawmakers to repeal HB 116.
Some Herrod supporters have even gone as far as to call themselves "Herrodtics." The name came in response to a Daily Herald editorial that observed those who opposed HB 116 may have differing opinions on the issue from that of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Herrod said this group came together to show their support to him during a tough battle on the immigration debate.
Herrod was careful not to put a time line on when he will make his final decision to run for the Senate or continue in his seat in the state House of Representatives. He says he hopes to have it figured out by the end of the year.
"That is usually the time to fish or cut bait," he said.
With Herrod looking at another position, names are already starting to surface as possible replacements for him. Former Utah County GOP Chairman Taylor Oldroyd is a possible replacement, as is Brandon Beckham.