Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
FILE – Jenny Wilson, with her son Zach, talks to Democrats gathered Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Salt Lake City.
SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson announced Monday that she will challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in 2018.
Wilson, a Democrat, said she has been “overwhelmed” by encouragement from Utahns who want change in Washington.
“They are tired of the bickering and recognize the bipartisan successes I have had working locally,” she said. “Utahns want an apolitical voice, and that’s what I represent.”
Wilson, 51, launched an exploratory committee earlier this year and has raised $139,328, according to her campaign. She will hold a formal campaign kickoff event in late August.
“Utahns want a senator who works for them, who listens to them and who gets things done. But after 40 years of Orrin Hatch, Washington is broken. Orrin Hatch is a decent man, but he’s part of the problem in Washington, and he has forgotten who sent him there,” she said.
Hatch, 83, has indicated he will run for an eighth term, barring some unforeseen circumstance.
President pro tem of the Senate and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, Hatch pledged in 2012 that his current term would be his last but seems to have changed his mind.
The senator’s leadership role puts him at the center of the most critical debates in Washington, including health care and tax reform, said Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock.
“With all the problems Utahns sent him here to solve, the 2018 election cycle has not been top of…