Lugar an omen for Hatch?

The question on a lot of lips is whether Richard Lugar’s primary loss signals anything about Orrin Hatch, who now is the undisputed longest-serving Republican in the Senate.

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., left, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., right.


According to an account in the Atlantic, at FreedomWorks headquarters Tuesday night people were chanting “Hatch is next!”

But not many observers seem to think that’s true. That same Atlantic piece (read it here) predicts Lugar will be the tea party’s only victory this year. Lugar had some unique and serious issues, not the least being that he no longer lived in Indiana.

I was in Indianapolis a little more than a week ago and could almost feel the anti-Lugar momentum. It did feel like a special case.

Here’s what the Atlantic said: “But there’s almost no way Hatch will lose the primary. He got a majority in the convention, where delegates tend to be more conservative than primary voters. Furthemore, Mitt Romney, with whom Hatch has aligned himself, will be on the Utah primary ballot; in 2008, Romney got nearly 90 percent of the Mormon-heavy state’s primary vote.”

I honestly think it’s too early to say. What do you think?

[poll id=”8″]


About the Author

Jay Evensen

Jay Evensen is the Senior Editorial Columnist for the Deseret News. He has 32 years of journalism experience covering politics and a variety of other assignments at news organizations ranging from United Press International in New York City to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Deseret News, where he has worked since 1986. During that time, he has won numerous local, regional and national awards. Most recently, he was given the Cameron Duncan Media Award, given annually in Washington, D.C., by the advocacy group RESULTS, to the journalist judged to have done the most to further the cause of the world's poorest people.


  1. KB

    The people of Indiana spoke resoundingly by retiring Senator Lugar that the era of big spending Republicans was over and unsustainable. Senator Hatch and Lugar have made a career of making policy based on huge deficits and debt. Senator Hatch in fact has voted for more debt than Richard Lugar (16 debt ceiling increases totaling 7.5 trillion dollars). We can’t expect to fix our financial mess in DC by sending the very guy back who helped create it. It’s time to Senator Hatch to retire, like Senator Lugar was forced to do.

  2. Laura Warburton

    Article hit it on the head. Lugar has more of a Bennett voting record, not a Hatch conservative voting record.

    However, I’m very disappointed. I was told by Dan’s campaign that Freedom Works was not a welcomed campaign contributor / driving force. It would appear that was a lie. How did both Dan and Lugar come up with the same tag line – ‘It’s Time’? Coincidence? I don’t think so. Freedom Works is a deceptive organization; the kind that gives lobbying a bad name.

  3. Gordon Jones

    Don’t be so sensitive, Laura. “It’s Time” is a logical phrase to use when running against a 36-year incumbent. Mourdock’s campaign didn’t use it in the same way as Liljenquist’s campaign does, but if you have real evidence that FreedomWorks (which does not use the phrase) co-ordinated with either campaign, let’s have it, not a hint of what would be, after all, a criminal act.

    Hatch’s campaign also uses a variant of the It’s Time motif. Does FreedomWorks control that campaign too?

    SuperPacs like FreedomWorks (and the pro-Hatch FreedomPath) are the product of the McCain-Feingold campaign “reform” (which Hatch voted for, BTW). Rather than going to candidates, the money now flows to outside organizations that are not responsible to the candidates. Without those outside expenditures in this race, Utah’s primary voters would simply be steamrolled by the Hatch money machine.

    So I say, proudly, “It’s Time!” Time to elect Dan Liljenquist, someone who will blow up the Seniority System, rather than profit from it.


  4. JBG

    Having known Senator Hatch in Washington and now living in Utah, Utahans should be proud to have an upstanding Senator serving their state and country in Washington. He has both the experience and clout that no other candidate can match. It would be foolish for our state to want this to end, as long as he is willing to serve.

  5. Rick Waltman

    Orrin Hatch ran his initial campaign on the importance of terms limits and that 3 terms in Washington was long enough. Now seeking his 7th term, it is more than fair to scrutinize whether or not another term for Hatch is in the best interest of Utah. Hatch is part of the political elite in Washington and the group that has saddled our children with huge debt and a very dubious financial future. Hatch would have us believe that he is the only one who is qualified to lead us out of this mess, when in fact he is part of the problem. I appreciate his service over the years and his good intentions, but the time has come for him to retire. It is absurd to think that the same leadership that created the problem can somehow extricate us. He certainly was not able to do anything over the past 36 years to change the outcome of this mess, so what makes him think he is so essential to solving the problem?

    It’s difficult to comprehend the hubris of someone who thinks they are so indispensable, yet unwilling to face their challenger in a televised debate. Hatch has never met a camera he didn’t like, unless it was to debate his opponent. What a slap in the face to the voters of Utah! Hatch’s opponent, Dan Liljenquist played by the rules and won a runoff election fair and square and he deserves respect, not the non-stop ridicule of Team Hatch. Hatch shows his disdain for our political process when he acts like he is so superior that he does not need to answer to the voters. Instead he runs and hides. Ironically he stressed the importance and need for debates when he first ran against Senator Moss. His deception for not debating Liljenquist rivals Bill Clinton’s, “I tried marijuana, but I didn’t inhale!” He claims he is too busy doing his work in Washington to face his opponent. Major media outlets have offered to televise the debate in Washington or wherever would be most convenient for Hatch, yet he refuses. I think most voters are smart enough to see this for what it is. Somehow Hatch still has time for fund raisers, and any opportunity he can to join himself to the hip of Mitt Romney.

    I believe the rest of the open minded voters in Utah will step up like the voters of Indiana did and say enough is enough! We want change in Washington and it can continue with our having the courage to follow Indiana’s example.

Leave a comment encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.