Orrin Hatch Gets a Primary

David Weigel

The Tea Party movement is alive in Utah. With representatives from FreedomWorks in the audience, delegates at the Utah Republican Convention managed to force Sen. Orrin Hatch into a June 26 primary. He got 59.2 percent of their votes against Dan Liljenquist, a 38-year-old state senator. Hatch needed 60 percent to avoid the primary. He couldn’t do it. In two rounds of voting, he went from 2,243 votes to 2,313 votes. If he’d gotten 32 more votes, he would have wrapped this up.

Some perspective: Hatch is in a better position than his defeated colleague Bob Bennett was in 2010. The nascent Tea Party went after Bennett hard and early, attacking him for musing credulously about climate change and for co-sponsoring a (going-nowhere) health care reform bill with Sen. Ron Wyden. Bennett got a mere 26 percent of the convention vote, not even coming close to a primary…

The article continues at Slate.

Update: Conduct unbecoming a senator

“I despise these people,” Orrin Hatch told NPR last week, “and I’m not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.” What would make the powerful 36-year incumbent senator from Utah say such a hostile thing? Who does he “despise”? What did they do? Who, exactly, does he want to punch “in the mouth”?

The answer: Americans participating in the democratic process. Hatch’s threat was directed at the citizen activists — some 15,000 in Utah and 1.5 million around the country — who are shining a bright light on his record in the Senate and raising serious questions about Hatch’s commitment to economic freedom…

…Why does Senator Hatch want to punch his constituents “in the mouth”? Because he thinks they just may succeed. Because for the first time in 36 years Hatch is facing a legitimate challenge for his Senate seat. Because he fundamentally disagrees with the belief that government shouldn’t spend money it does not have and should not get involved in things like running car companies, mortgage banks or your health care. His voting record is proof…

Read the whole thing.


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