- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
‘Old school’ Hatch girds for new wave in primary
Question of the Day
Like Mr. Bennett, Mr. Hatch has served Utah for many years — maybe too many. The political mood among Republican voters favors fresh faces with tea party connections, and while the 76-year-old Mr. Hatch may be a veritable political institution in his state, he’s not exactly fresh.
For all his conservative credentials — Mr. Hatch boasts an 89 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union — the six-term senator lacks the hard-right edge of the new Republican wave of lawmakers, such as Sen. Mike Lee, who occupies Mr. Bennett’s former seat.
A war of sorts has broken out among tea party factions over Mr. Hatch, with some groups vowing a primary challenge next year and others defending him.
“Hatch is old school,” said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. “Hatch has always been a guy on the Republican side who would work with Democrats. He was buddies with Ted Kennedy. It’s the bipartisan Republicans who have been getting chewed up in these contested primaries.”
Still, Mr. Hatch’s statewide name recognition, clout in Washington, fundraising prowess and campaign experience ought to count for something — except that they don’t, at least not during Utah’s unusual nominating process.
Utah political parties select their nominees not through a statewide primary vote but through a nominating convention described as the most restrictive in the nation. About 3,500 party delegates choose the nominee through a series of votes, meaning that a candidate who can win over a couple of thousand delegates can win the nomination even with little in the way of popular statewide support.
The nominating delegates tend to be more partisan and less compromising than the average voter, analysts say.
“People attending the convention are more radical, more libertarian and more distrustful of people in Washington, D.C.,” said Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, at the time of the Bennett race. “The delegate crowd is a much tougher crowd than the rest of the state.”
An early poll shows Mr. Hatch trailing in hypothetical matchups against other well-known Republican pols in the state. A survey of 504 eligible voters by the Utah Policy/Exoro Group released Jan. 18 showed former Gov. Jon Huntsman leading with 48 percent, followed by second-term Rep. Jason Chaffetz with 23 percent. Mr. Hatch came in third with 21 percent.
Mr. Hatch has reached out to tea party organizations — with mixed results.
One of the main groups of the anti-spending movement, the Tea Party Nation, has targeted Mr. Hatch and four other Republican Senate incumbents for defeat, saying they can be replaced by stronger conservatives.
In an interview with National Review Online, Sal Russo, chief strategist for the Tea Party Express, said his group would lay off Mr. Hatch, citing in part the senator’s decision in the mid-1970s to support the insurgent presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan against President Ford. Mr. Russo at the time was trying to rally backers for Reagan’s primary run and Mr. Hatch was chairman of Utah’s Republican Party.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- Westerners call for oversight to combat federal land managers
- Protesters rally in Colorado to support Israel's fight with Hamas
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq