Orrin Hatch won the Utah Republican primary, fending off a challenge by Tea Party favorite and former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. See NPR.
I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Hatch about twenty years ago. I liked him well enough, but I wasn't particularly impressed. I rode an elevator with him and took the chance to ask some questions. Some politicians will answer questions very candidly when there isn't a microphone around. Tom Daschle comes to mind. Hatch wasn't one of them. He talked in the same sound bites privately as he did when he stood up before a small group or large crowd.
So I wouldn't have been too disappointed if Hatch had lost. I wasn't hoping for that. Hatch will surely hold the seat for the Republicans. Still, it was a good thing for Hatch to be challenged. He hasn't been, since 1976. That isn't good for the party. Hatch had to pull out all the stops.
Liljenquist faced an overwhelming financial and organizational disadvantage. Hatch, learning from the defeat two years ago of his Senate colleague Robert Bennett, spent about $10 million blanketing the airwaves and building a campaign operation unlike anything Utah had seen before.
It's good to have to build those kind of resources. They will be available for others, when the time comes. It might come for Mr. Liljenquist one day.
Former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who survived a 2008 plane crash in Guatemala that killed 11 of 14 on board, won just enough support at the state GOP's nominating convention to advance to the primary…
Liljenquist, 37, a relative newcomer to the Utah political scene, seized on voters' concerns about the growing national debt and tried to make the case that Hatch had been a major contributor to that debt.
That is the real issue. Liljenquist was right to hold the Republican establishment's feet to the fire over it. I am guessing that the issue won't go away. Liljenquist may well have a future in the Utah political scene.