If you’ve been following Senate races this year, then you know that Orrin Hatch isn’t the only Republican facing a tough primary challenge. Dick Lugar, who has been in Washington since 1977, also has a competitive opponent in Richard Mourdock.
Many of the same groups that are targeting Orrin Hatch, including FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, are going after Lugar. But unlike Hatch’s race, where the groups haven’t endorsed, Mourdock has received endorsements and help through ad campaigns.
Lugar has his own self-induced problems to worry about. Part of the argument against him is that he has become addicted to Washington culture and no longer represents the interests of Indiana. It was recently alleged by the Indiana Democratic Party, that Lugar doesn’t maintain a residence in the state, rather lives in Virginia and rents a hotel room when visiting constituents.
Of course, Lugar’s campaign dismissed the accusation, claiming that the “entire state is his home.” That’s all well and good, but the residency issue just got a lot worse for Lugar. Yesterday, the Marion County Elections Board ruled that Lugar is ineligible to vote:
The Election Board has voted 2-1 along party lines to find Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican, and his wife ineligible to vote in their former home precinct. The two Democrats found that the Lugars abandoned that residence, according to Indiana law, and no longer reside there.
Lugar’s camp says it will appeal the decision because it disagrees with the board’s “political” action based on what it contends was a faulty analysis of the law.
We’ve been following Sen. Orrin Hatch’s campaign for re-election some this week. And as you most likely know, many grassroots and Tea Party groups have sent the message that they want to send him packing. However, they’re not picking sides as to who should replace him. But for Political Math, an expert in data visualizations and Utah resident, the race isn’t about getting rid of Hatch, it’s about replacing him with Dan Liljenquist:
First of all, I don’t think Orrin Hatch has been a particularly bad Senator for the state of Utah. He’s been a fairly reliable vote for the right and, from what I hear, he’s a decent sort of guy. I have a “thing” against career politicians and, at 36 years, I think Senator Hatch meets that definition, but I’m not on a mission to take the guy down.
For me, the “Hatch election” has nothing to do with Orrin Hatch. It has everything to do with Dan Liljenquist.
I met Dan back in 2010, long before he decided to run for Senate. Holly Richardson, a Twitter friend, introduced us with a view toward taking some of Dan’s work and turning into visuals or videos that he could use for presentations. It was then that I learned about Dan’s incredible political career which, at that time, was hardly even 2 years long.
Dan was elected in 2008 and asked to be placed “where the money is”, so he got dumped into the “Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations” committee, which was about as boring a place as possible. Except that “retirement” meant pensions and the Utah pension fund was (like nearly all pension funds) a heavily invested fund. Which means when the stock market collapsed in 2008-2009, so did our pension fund.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is definitely feeling the heat. He’s tried to pass off his record as “conservative,” but it’s hard to hide many of the votes he’s cast in favor of bigger government, including his support for TARP, Medicare Part D, bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and many bloated budgets.
Hatch is working feverishly to not wind up like his former colleague, Bob Bennett, who was sent packing during the Utah GOP convention in 2010. Mike Lee eventually went on to replace Bennett in the United States Senate. He’s picked up endorsements from influential conservatives like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, and even got Mitt Romney to cut an ad for him. But grassroots groups, including FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, and Tea Party activists haven’t been deterred.
And yesterday over at RedState, Erick Erickson joined the calls to put an end to Hatch’s political career in Washington:
On many of those votes over the years, Orrin Hatch was no different from any of the other Senate Republican leaders. We’re now past $15 trillion in debt and Orrin Hatch voted for a good bit of spending contributing to that debt. Some of it was necessary, but much of it was not.
As you probably know, FreedomWorks and other grassroots organizations have been targeting Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in his bid for re-election. While FreedomWorks hasn’t formally endorsed a candidate in the race (others running include State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, a tea party favorite), they did recently come out with a web ad slamming Hatch for voting for $7.5 trillion — half the size of the national debt — during his time in Washington.
But Mitt Romney, who is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, has jumped in the middle of the Senate race in Utah by endorsing Hatch and cutting a minute long ad where he claims that the state can “count on Sen. Orrin Hatch in the fight to lower taxes, to balance the budget and to repeal the federal government takeover of health care”:
Looking for another shake-up of the Republican establishment in the United States Senate, the Club for Growth has endorsed Richard Mourdock in his bid to unseat Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN). The Club released this statement on Tuesday:
The Club for Growth PAC today announced that it is endorsing Richard Mourdock for United States Senate in Indiana. The seat is currently held by incumbent Republican Senator Richard Lugar.
“After thirty-six years in Washington, it’s time to send Richard Lugar home,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “Richard Lugar has served honorably, but he’s been part of the problem in Washington. He’s voted for bigger government, more spending, and he even recently voted against a permanent ban on congressional pork. Richard Mourdock will vote to limit government, repeal ObamaCare, and will help bring back the jobs lost to the Obama’s economic policies. The Club for Growth PAC proudly endorses Richard Mourdock for United States Senate.”
The Club was influential two years ago in primary races in Utah and Pennsylvania that led to incumbents being tossed out of office over more fiscally conservative challengers. Their rationale for getting involved in this race is that Lugar has aligned himself against taxpayers too many times:
Recently, Lugar was one of only thirteen Republicans to join Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid in voting against a permanent ban on earmarks.
That was the final straw for the Club for Growth PAC, which has now endorsed Lugar’s conservative challenger, Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock.
After years of hearing backlash against team names like Redskins and Braves, which opponents claimed demaned Native Americans, I thought we had kind of moved past this. I really, really should know better by now.
Sensitivity and political correctness regarding the names of athletic teams has officially reached a ridiculous peak.
KSTU-TV in Utah reports that a new high school’s hope to call its team the Cougars was rejected because … wait for it … the Victorian-minded members of the school board thought it would be offensive to some middle-aged women.
Cougar, of course, has become a working term for older women who chase considerably younger men. But long before that usage inspired Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town TV show the noble cougar served as a mascot for Washington State and the University of Houston.
First of all, most of the “cougars” I know are rather proud of the term, though I suppose there are some who aren’t. However, no one is painting a 40 year old woman in a slinky black dress holding a martini on a football helmet here. We’re talking about a large feline.
In this nation, people have a right to say they are offended by the name of a team, just like we have the right to mock them for that opinion if we so wish. However, people don’t have a right to not be offended, especially when it’s pretty damn clear that no one was referring to them in the first place.
Even though Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) decided against a primary challenge, it doesn’t mean that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is out of the woods. It looks as though State Sen. Dan Liljenquist will make a run against Hatch, according to a recent interview:
“God bless Orrin Hatch for his service to the state,” he said in the interview. “But we have a different philosophy on what the federal government should and should not do.”
Previewing what would likely be a line of attack against Hatch in a campaign, Liljenquist said Hatch was “advocating in the early nineties for the individual mandate, that the federal government role was to drive people into insurance products.”
“To me, I’m looking for leadership. And I haven’t seen it,” he said.
Liljenquist, who studied at Brigham Young University and later went to law school at the University of Chicago, said entitlement reform would “absolutely” play a major role in his campaign if he runs.
Liljenquist has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president.
“In the state of Utah, Romney is very well respected for what he did on the Olympics,” he said.
Liljenquist said he and his wife will make a decision about getting in the race by the end of the month and an announcement will be made by early next year.
The biggest consideration is how a campaign will affect his six kids, he said.
Yes, sometimes the New York Times has something interesting. In this case, though, it’s a vitally important thing happening in Utah that they decided to bury at the very bottom of their story on all the local elections going on across the country:
In dozens of communities in Utah, the question was whether to have an election at all. A new state law this year, aimed saving money for local governments, allows local authorities for the first time to forgo voting if the results would have no material effect; as of Monday, 45 towns and cities had notified the state that they were taking up the offer.
A no-vote election is available to a community only if every office on its ballot is uncontested — not uncommon in small towns where recruiting candidates is tough — and if there are no ballot propositions. The 45 participants this year saved an estimated $270,000, said the state’s director of elections, Mark J. Thomas.
On the face of it, I understand the reasoning. All the offices are uncontested, there’s no referendum for the public to vote on, and nothing anyone does will actually change the makeup of the local government, so why spend money? The pragmatic argument for this is obvious.
But America was never about pragmatism. If America was pragmatic, it would never have started the American Revolution, or fought to keep the Confederacy within the Union. It would have never gone to the Moon, or decided that NASCAR made any sense. No, even today, in these “dark times,” America has been one of idealism, not pragmatism.
You have to hand it to Jon Huntsman, he’s averaging barely over 1% in national polls in his quest for the Republican nomination for president; but he just keeps on truckin’. His team put out a new ad yesterday contrasting his record on jobs to that of Mitt Romney (although he was never named, but video of a baseball glove or a mitt is shown), whose state, Massachusetts, was 47th in the nation during the same time:
Count me among the people that are disappointed that Rep. Jason Chaffetz will not challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch in the Republican primary next year:
In bowing out of a U.S. Senate clash with Orrin Hatch on Monday, Jason Chaffetz avoided what he said would be a “multimillion-dollar bloodbath,” but predicts Hatch is not in the clear.
“I think he’s vulnerable,” Chaffetz said. “He’s got a major task ahead of him in convincing Utahns he’s still the right guy for that job. I think he’s got a serious threat of [Democratic Rep.] Jim Matheson running against him, a serious campaign, and another insurgent campaign on the Republican side.”
Chaffetz ended months of speculation Monday, announcing that he would pass on a Senate bid and instead seek re-election to his House seat.
“If I were to run an interparty battle it would be a multimillion-dollar bloodbath,” Chaffetz said Monday. “I don’t think that’s necessarily in my best interests. I don’t think it’s in the best interest of our party, the nation or our state.”
It looked likely that Chaffetz was going to challenge Hatch. He talked like a candidate and received nudges from grassroots activists and national groups, including the Club for Growth. In fact, poll commissioned by the Club for Growth indicated that Chaffetz would be off to a solid start.