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Sen. Orrin Hatch wasn't on the ballot this week, but he won a grand prize nonetheless.

As the senior Republican in the Senate, Hatch will earn a new title when the GOP takes back control of the upper chamber in January: Senate president pro tempore.

It's a position that comes with a variety of new powers and new perks, like being a few heartbeats away from being commander in chief.

"It's a constitutional post," says Senate Historian Donald Ritchie, "and it's in the line of presidential succession, which is not to be sneezed at."

Senate majority leader, by the way, isn't mentioned in the Constitution, but Hatch's soon-to-be gig is. The president pro tempore — meaning "for the time being" in Latin — signs legislation passed by the Senate, appoints people to various commissions and boards and is responsible to ensure there's a presiding officer on the dais in the chamber whenever the Senate is in session.

Oh, and Hatch will also get a security detail, be driven around in one of those black SUVs and will serve as an ex-officio officer of the Republican Policy Committee.

As third in line for the presidency, after the vice president and House speaker, Hatch also will earn some preferential treatment to keep him safe.

"In case of a national emergency," Ritchie notes, "a helicopter will come to whisk him away."

Hatch will get a small staff to help with the new role and an office in the Capitol that is likely to be used for mostly ceremonial events.

But Hatch says the title, and all its glory, won't change him.

"I have never counted on things like that, nor do I think it makes me better than anybody else, but I really want to do a good job in these last few years," Hatch said Tuesday night after the pundits called the Senate for the GOP.

The 80-year-old Hatch has said his seventh Senate term, set to end in January 2019, will be his last.

He is in line to head the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

As for his new perks, well ...

"I'm not used to having an armed detail," Hatch joked. "I'm used to being the one who has to protect my staff. It'll be an interesting thing."

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