During a week when Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) announced their intentions to retire instead of seek reelection, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) affirmed to the Deseret News that come 2012 he will be seeking reelection for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate.

"I intend to get elected in 2012," Hatch said Wednesday during an interview in his Salt Lake City office. "One person can't do everything, but I can do a lot. I understand the rules. I understand the place. I understand the callings. I understand the law, and I have the experience to be able to do these things and to rally people, and to get people together, and to make both sides have to do what's right."

A significant facet of Hatch's reelection strategy is helping voters understand that if Republicans take control of the Senate in 2012 as many pundits forecast will be the case, then a reelected Hatch would become chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee for which he is currently the ranking Republican.

"For Utah, a state with 2.8 million people, to have a ranking member on the Finance Committee and the real potential of being chairman upon election (in 2012), that's like money in the bank because every other person in the Congress has to consider what I think is important," he explained. "Upon election, I believe the Republicans will be in the majority in the Senate and I'll be chairman of that committee. That will be the greatest responsibility and the greatest opportunity for a Utahn in this country, for people like me, that we've had in generations."

The Washington Post recently tabbed Hatch as one of the Top 10 senators most likely to retire in advance of the 2012 election.

The senior senator from Utah is presently throwing his weight behind another attempt at a Balanced Budget Amendment.

e-mail: jaskar@desnews.com