Scott Howell’s second try at beating Sen. Orrin Hatch

Former Utah state lawmaker Scott Howell is the Democrat hoping to keep Sen. Orrin Hatch from winning a seventh term this November.

Howell sat down with the Deseret News editorial board this week to answer questions about the campaign. He seems anxious to attack the senator’s age (Hatch is 78 and would be 84 at the end of his next term, should he win). The senator “could be my dad,” Howell said, hinting that Hatch lacks the stamina to continue serving effectively.

That’s the same tactic Republican challenger Dan Liljenquist used unsuccessfully in his primary election challenge of Hatch this year. Howell believes Liljenquist was hurt by tea party support and that he will be seen as a more palatable and reasonable candidate.

Howell also wants to paint Hatch as fiscally irresponsible and himself as a conservative Democrat. He especially emphasized Hatch’s support for Medicare Part D and for raising the debt ceiling several times.

This is Howell’s second try at unseating Hatch. He opposed him in 2000 and lost, receiving 31 percent of the vote. Hatch outspent him $5.25 million to $297,000 that year and looks to have a huge funding advantage this year, too.

Below are audio files of Howell’s answers to seven questions about his candidacy.

Aren’t you just your party’s sacrificial lamb in this race? Listen to the answer

Will you endorse President Obama or Mitt Romney? Listen to the answer

Where do you stand on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Listen to the answer

The Senate is polarized. Could you fix that? Listen to the answer

How do you define fiscal responsibility in relation to your opponent? Listen to the answer

What would be your priorities as a Senator? Listen to the answer

Would you make saving Hill Air Force Base a priority, as your opponent has? Listen to the answer

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. D. Love

    Scott Howell is a stand-up guy and reflects the views of many mainstream Utahns, like Jim Matheson tries to do (without support from the other Utah delegates). We need a delegation that is more representative of many Utahns. He would bring a breath of fresh air into the stale Utah Congressional cabal (who stick together and vote as a block no matter what).

  2. D. King

    Does anyone remember what Senator Hatch said about some of us registered Republicans who opposed him in the primary?

    “I despise these people, and I’m not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.”

    Interestingly enough, I got to be introduced to Scott Howell by a family member, and though I’m not a Democrat, he didn’t seem to feel any animosity towards me, or a need to “punch me in the mouth.” What have we conservative Republicans achieved if we send Orrin Hatch back to Washington D.C.? Is the seventh time the charm? Is this the term where he stops voting for increases to the debt ceiling, or huge expansions to the entitlements, or unpaid wars? Do we need another term to prove that Orrin Hatch will call himself a conservative until another TARP vote comes along?

    I’m voting for Scott Howell because I believe his answers show fiscal discipline in a time where it is sorely needed, and also to send the message to Senator Hatch that he does not own us nor that seat.

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