Chatting with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Mike Lee

“[T]he powers of government must be restrained. They’ve got to be restrained in terms of what they do in administering government programs, they need to be restrained as far as how much money they take from the American people, and they need to be restrained in terms of how much they interfere with the liberty of individual Americans.” — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Back in 2010, conservatives trained their focus on Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT), who had positioned himself over the years as a big government Republican. Bennett had backed billions in corporate welfare for private companies, including the TARP bailout, and supported a healthcare proposal that was considered by some to be worse than ObamaCare.

Bennett was unable to gain enough support during the 2010 Utah GOP convention to win the nomination, setting the stage for a primary between Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee.

Lee would go on to edge out his primary opponent thanks to his strong constitutional and fiscally conservative message and support from grassroots organizations, and he easily defeated his Democratic opponent in the historic 2010 mid-term election.

Mike Lee: “We can’t abandon constitutional rights for temporary security”

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During the debate over re-authorization of FISA warrantless wiretapping practices, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) articulately defended the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.

UT-4: Mia Love holds a 12-point lead

Mia Love

According to new polling from the Salt Lake Tribune, Mia Love is on her way to becoming the first black Republican woman in Congress. The poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon, shows Love leading Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) by a 12-point margin:

Matheson trails Republican challenger Mia Love 52 percent to 40 percent in a new poll conducted for The Salt Lake Tribune, a large margin in a race where, even a few days ago, both campaigns were predicting a tight finish.
The Tribune poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, found that the coalition of Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans and women that Matheson has united in past elections is failing to coalesce this time around, with just 9 percent of Republicans crossing over to support him.

Matheson’s poll showed him getting 19 percent of GOP support.

Brad Coker, managing director at Mason-Dixon, said that Matheson may be falling victim to the popularity of Mitt Romney.

“Romney is winning [Utah] by such a big margin and Republican voters are coming out because of Romney,” Coker said. “It’s just not a good year to be a Democrat in Utah.”

Love — with the backing of national groups and fundraising help from prominent national Republicans — has also been able to keep pace with Matheson’s spending and has become a popular figure among national Republicans, Coker said.

UT-4: Mitt Romney urges voters to support Mia Love

Mia Love

It comes as no surprise that Utah will line up solidly in the Republican column this year because, well, they do pretty much every four years. This year perhaps even more so since the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, is a Mormon and spent a significant amount of time in the state salvaging the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Mia Love, who is running against Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), is hoping to be the beneficiary of Romney’s popularity in the state. In a new ad from her campaign, a voter picks up the phone to hear Mitt Romney’s voice urging them to support Love.

Romney says, “Mia is the only candidate in the race that will fight to reign in reckless spending and to lower taxes,” adding, “I’ll hope you’ll join me in support Mia in the upcoming election so that Utah’s voice can help lead this country back to an economic recovery.”

Here’s the ad:

UT-4: Mia Love drops new ad

With campaign internals showing a lead in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Mia Love is hoping to seal the deal with voters. In a new ad, Love, who current serves as mayor of Saratoga Springs, knocks the negative tactics of her opponent, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT).

Love explains that she’s different, not because of her race or sex, but because she’ll “take [her] conservative reform agenda straight to Capitol Hill”:

Mia Love Update

Last week, I interviewed Mayor Mia Love, candidate for the 4th district of Utah. I asked her how challenging it is to run for Congress as a conservative black woman.

Today, apparently Democrats are not too happy about Love being ahead in the polls. Police are investigating racial images sent to her office:

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A packet of information sent to Mayor Mia Love’s office that city officials described as racist launched a police investigation Tuesday.

City Manager Mark Christensen described the contents of the thick envelope as “disturbing” and “pretty creepy stuff.” He said it included a picture of Love and her husband, Jason, and a hooded Ku Klux Klan character. There also were pictures of aborted fetuses, he said.

“I couldn’t tell if it was threatening or anything. It kind of shocked me, what I saw,” he said.

Christensen said the city has received others mailings aimed at Love but nothing like the one that arrived Tuesday. He said he turned it over to the police department.[…]

Christensen said the envelope contained fliers, pictures and pages printed from the Internet. He said the city has received mail aimed at Love four or five times before, but the latest envelope caused enough concern to involve police.

Tea Time with Max Pappas: Senator Mike Lee, Episode 1

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Dan Liljenquist to debate a cardboard cutout of Orrin Hatch

What should you do if you’re running for office against a politician that won’t show up for a debate? If you’re Dan Liljenquist, who is running to unseat Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), you debate a cardboard cut out:

Senate hopeful Dan Liljenquist intends to debate a cardboard cutout of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Thursday night.

Liljenquist’s campaign manager, Holly Richardson, confirmed to the Daily Herald on Monday that Liljenquist plans on holding a debate at the Sons of Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening where he will debate the cardboard representation of Utah’s senior senator.

“We are going to have a large TV screen there and play Sen. Hatch’s answers,” said Richardson, noting that Hatch’s voice will still be heard at the debate.

Richardson claimed the move is not new to Utah politics as she said Hatch also held debates against cardboard cutouts of his primary opponent when he ran for the Senate in 1976. Richardson stated that Hatch said at his cardboard debate that his opponent seemed like he had decided he doesn’t have to run a race. She called Hatch’s past statement ironic.

Hatch’s campaign manager Dave Hansen called the Thursday night debate a gimmick by the Liljenquist team to try to drum up press coverage for their candidate.

“They are trying to do everything with bells and whistles to get some attention,” Hansen said. “The senator is trying to get out and listen to the voters and talk with them.”

Sarah Palin backs a big government Republican

Facing perhaps the biggest fight of his political career, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) managed to get to endorsements last year from prominent conservative talk show hosts, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. The hope was that the 35-year Senator could build up enough support to avoid a primary challenger from the right.

Political pressure kept Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) from running, but State Sen. Dan Liljenquist managed to push Hatch into a primary last month after the latter was unable to gain enough support at the Utah GOP convention. Hatch knows he has an advantage, which is why he’s been avoiding debates with Liljenquist — a point Glenn Beck brought up recently on his show, offering to host a forum for the two.

Based on what I’ve heard from friends in DC, they’re managing expectations, choosing instead to focus their efforts on Ted Cruz in Texas and elsewhere. This may have been brought home yesterday when Sarah Palin endorsed Hatch over Liljenquist:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has endorsed Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is facing a Tea Party challenge from former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R).

“I want him to win. I join Sean Hannity and Mark Levin and other conservatives who would like to see Mr. Balanced Budget return to Washington,” Palin said on Fox News on Tuesday night. “He wants to apply that common-sense economic principle of balanced-budget fiscal responsibility, and I want to see him reelected.”

FreedomWorks backs Dan Liljenquist in Utah

Given that FreedomWorks had targeted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) so heavily in the lead up to the Utah GOP convention last week — pointing out his atrocious voting record, which includes voting for half of the national debt during his time in Washington, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the group’s PAC has endorsed Dan Liljenquist, who will square off against Hatch in the June primary:

FreedomWorks for America announced today its endorsement of Dan Liljenquist, candidate for United States Senate representing Utah. Liljenquist won 40.8 percent of the delegate vote at last Saturday’s Utah GOP Convention, denying incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch the 60 percent necessary to avoid a June primary.

“Dan Liljenquist is an energetic fiscal conservative who will take a leading role in spending cuts and the repeal of ObamaCare from day one,” commented Russ Walker, National Political Director for FreedomWorks for America.

“We have been working with Utah conservatives since last May to elect the strongest and most consistent advocate for conservative economic policy, and Dan has proven himself to be the man for the job. He will be a great addition to support fellow Utah Senator Mike Lee expanding the conservative coalition in the Senate.”

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