Orrin Hatch Targeted by Tea Party

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT, speaks during a news conference to introduce a Constitutional amendment which would require Congress and the President to produce yearly a balanced budget on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 26, 2011.   UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg

Sen. Orrin Hatch may be following the path of former junior Sen. Bob Bennett back to his home state of Utah if the Tea Party has their way.  

Hatch, who has been representing one of the most Republican states in the country since 1976, has been targeted for defeat by the conservative political action group. The Tea Party believes Hatch’s 35 years in the Senate are too many and that the senator is significantly less conservative than the group believes he should be.

“The bottom line is Hatch doesn’t represent the state of Utah,” said vice president of political campaigns for FreedomWorks PAC Russ Walker. “The state of Utah is far more fiscally conservative than Orrin Hatch is.”

He may be right—with only 35 percent of his constituents currently committed to his reelection, Hatch could be in real danger. Walker said that the senator has consistently voted for programs and other actions that have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. Hatch, he said, cannot be trusted.

But his campaign disagrees. Dave Hansen, Hatch’s campaign manager, told the conservative blog The Daily Caller that the senator currently has a 90 percent conservative rating from the American Conservative Union and a 97 percent rating from Club for Growth. He also received the highest ranking in Congress by the National Taxpayers Union. He added that if FreedomWorks wished to make a real difference in the country, it would target President Barack Obama for defeat.

That has not silenced his critics, however. The Los Angeles Times reported that despite Hansen’s statement the Club for Growth communications director Barney Keller noted that Hatch has a lifetime rating of 74 percent, which “plac[es] him towards the bottom of Republicans serving in the Senate in 2010.” Many inside and outside of the state have urged Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who was elected to Congress on a similar wave of Tea Party sentiment, to challenge Hatch for the Senate seat.
1 2 Next
Print Article