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:
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”:
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Leading into the Utah GOP convention on Saturday, many were predicting that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would manage to avoid a primary contest, and by extension the fate of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, in 2010. And while Hatch didn’t lose his bid for re-election, he will face Dan Liljenquist in a head-to-head matchup:
Sen. Orrin Hatch, forced into a primary election by a narrow vote of delegates at a weekend Utah Republican convention, heads into a nine-week campaign hoping his advantages in money, organization and name recognition will allow him to overwhelm a lesser-known opponent.
Mr. Hatch needed 60% of the convention vote to avoid a primary, but he fell short by 32 out of 3,908 cast. That means he will face his first primary opponent since he won election to the Senate in 1976. His rival will be former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who received just over 40% of convention delegate votes.
Mr. Liljenquist and his supporters, including tea-party activists, cast the result as a big win and an important step in their nationwide efforts to unseat Republicans they consider insufficiently conservative.
Dave Hanson, Mr. Hatch’s campaign manager, said Sunday the senator had overcome difficult odds, given that tea-party activists two years ago unseated Sen. Robert Bennett, another Utah GOP incumbent, at the convention that year by depriving him of a spot on the primary ballot. Republican Mike Lee went on to win the general election.
Over the last several months, libertarians have taken shots from all sides. During the Republican primary, Rick Santorum made it clear that he wasn’t fond of the libertarian viewpoint on nearly any matter in public policy and expressed concern about the philosophical influence in the Tea Party movement. Santorum even as far as knocking the Goldwater view of limited government.
More recently, libertarians have been wrongly attacked by Van Jones, a self-described communist and former Obama Administration appointee. During an Occupy Wall Street event, Jones called libertarians “bigots” and claimed that we are anti-gay rights; accusations that are completely false.
Now Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is getting in his shots.
Facing a fate similar to that of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, Hatch recently told NPR that he is “doggone offended” by “radical libertarians” that have gotten involved in the Senate primary in Utah:
This year, major conservative groups announced their intention of defeating Hatch — who they deemed too moderate. FreedomWorks has reportedly spent at least $670,000 attacking Hatch this cycle.
But the long-time senator isn’t sitting on his hands. Hatch told NPR’s Howard Berkes, “These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans.”
It’s been a rough go at the Republican nomination for Newt Gingrich. He enjoyed a bump in the polls back in the December as conservatives were still trying to find a viable alternative to Mitt Romney. But when Rick Santorum was able to gain traction in the race, Gingrich struggled mightily, winning only his home state of Georgia and neighboring South Carolina to date.
Now that Santorum is out of the race, Gingrich is again trying to convince Republicans to back him. Not long after sending an e-mail claiming to be the “last conservative standing,” it was reported that Gingrich’s campaign bounced a $500 check to get on the primary ballot in Utah:
GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich might fail to appear on the Utah primary ballot after a check for the required filing fee bounced, according to media reports.
The check for $500 bounced on March 27, Utah state election director Mark Thomas told ABC News, which first reported the story.
“Our office immediately attempted to contact the campaign and the designated agent, but no phone calls were returned,” Thomas said, according to ABC.
“We also asked the state Republican Party to assist us, but they also could not get into communication with them, although I do not know how they attempted to contact them,” he added.
According to Bloomberg, Gingrich’s campaign has had severe fundraising woes and is $4.5 million in debt. However, Gingrich insists that he is going to take his campaign to the Republican National Convention in August where he hopes to influence the party’s 2012 platform. After all, that’s about the only thing he can hope to do at this point.