Major conservative group urging Hatch to retire
June 16th, 2011
01:09 PM ET
2 years ago

Major conservative group urging Hatch to retire

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election campaign says a leading grassroots conservative organization, that's calling on the longtime Republican senator from Utah to retire, is wasting their money.

"It's a curious decision by FreedomWorks considering Orrin Hatch agrees that a limited government is essential to rebuilding our country. If FreedomWorks is anxious to spend their money, why not put it into defeating Barack Obama in the Presidential race?" says Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen in a statement to CNN.

Earlier Thursday, CNN confirmed that FreedomWorks PAC plans to launch a "Retire Orrin Hatch" campaign this Saturday at the Utah Republican Convention. The story was first reported by the Daily Caller.

FreedomWorks is a nonprofit conservative organization based in the nation's capital that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organization behind the tea party movement. The group also supports conservative candidates in Republican primary and general election contests.

"It's clear that Senator Hatch is trying to capitalize on the popularity of the Tea Party movement by reinventing himself as a fiscal conservative. But his recent rhetoric and actions in favor of limited government simply do not erase decades of bad votes, costing taxpayers trillions of dollars," Russ Walker, FreedomWorks' vice president of political and grassroots campaigns, tells CNN.

"Indeed Hatch's body of work proves he cannot be trusted to consistently adhere to a fiscally conservative agenda and possible primary challengers like Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-3, UT) give conservatives in Utah and around the country a great opportunity to trade up."

Last year FreedomWorks was one of the groups that targeted three-term Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah in the months leading up that state's GOP convention. Bennett was defeated at the convention in his bid for his party's re-nomination. Conservatives Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater advanced to the party primary, with Lee winning the GOP nod and then the general election.

Hatch, who's up for re-election next year and wants to avoid Bennett's fate, has a history of reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats - a fact that obviously does not sit well with many tea party activists and other conservatives. But Hatch has taken steps since last year to buffer himself from criticism from those on the right by highlighting his conservative chops. He led the Senate GOP push for a balanced budget amendment and was a co-sponsor of a Republican amendment to repeal the new health care law. Last month he also landed a perfect score in the American Conservative Union's 2010 ratings.

In March, Hatch attended a FreedomWorks function at its new headquarters in the nation's capital.

Earlier in the year, Walker visited Utah, to meet with grassroots conservatives about possible challenges to Hatch. The group's new move against Hatch is the first major action this cycle.

"In the last 30 years, Senator Orrin Hatch has voted to increase the debt ceiling 16 times by a total of $7.6 trillion, a value equal to one half the national debt. He voted in support of the morally hazardous Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), against a ban on earmarks, in support of numerous pork-filled spending and subsidy bills, and against the inter-state sale of health insurance," adds Walker.

"Senator Hatch has and will always fight for strong pro-growth policies of lower taxes, less regulation, a conservative judiciary and a limited government – just like he always has throughout his career. He's has always represented Utah values and will continue to fight for those values each and every day," responds Hansen.

Earlier this week conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin came to Hatch's defense, saying "it would be a sad place in the Senate if we knocked you off in the Republican system in Utah."

One possible conservative challenger could be Chaffetz, who was re-elected last November to a second term. Earlier this year he told the Deseret News that a run for the Senate is "a definite maybe," and said he intends to make his decision before the autumn. But in recent weeks he's indicated he's more serious about a challenge to Hatch.

C. Boyden Gray, who is a co-chairman of FreedomWorks Foundation Board, Thursday afternoon endorsed Hatch's 2012 re-election bid.

In a letter to Hatch, Gray wrote "From containing trial lawyers' excess, to deregulation, to promoting conservative jurists to the Federal Bench, no one has supported the principles of limited government better than you for years and I hope for your continued service in the future."


Filed under: FreedomWorks • Orrin Hatch
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. azmary

    Maybe the consertive group is upset that Hatch was one of the sponsors of the original "Dream Act". He did that at the encouragement of President Bush to attract mare young men and women to join the military for the war in Iraq.

    June 16, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. ex-sarge

    Hatch needs to go, but not just because the Koch brothers want him to.

    June 16, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Dave

    Just more evidence that TRUE fiscal conservatives are taking back the country with sound, logical, and responsible policies based on what we were founded on and what made us great for 2 centuries: the constitution and the free market.

    But, sadly, many of you here at CNN are oblivious to this and for some reason think those ideals and the free market don't work, even though history shows us otherwise. I guess when left wing news organizations scream loud enough and long enough about distorted facts eventually many of you end up believing it. Kind of like many of being sold on spending more of our tax payer dollars will help the economy, and in a time when the dollar is falling and about to bankrupt us. If it wasn't so relevant to all our futures it would be pretty funny how ignorant many of you are to the simple fact that we can not keep spending more than we take in.

    June 16, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    Dick Army, the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist.

    People we didn't even elect are running the republican branches of government (and all republicans in local, state, and federal government).

    Aren't you all smart to continue voting against you own best interests? You obviously want the wealthy to get more, while wages - or even finding a job - gets worse for the average U.S. Citizen.

    Our education is definitely not working. The back-woods hicks that vote republicans are idiots.

    June 16, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    If he's in the cross-hairs, he'll either get ousted or shot. Not a good sign for him.

    June 16, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Sandra

    When will we as main stream Americans (and there are a lot us) take our country back from the Tea Partiers who seem to believe they have a God-given right to act like they own the country. We are all part of the same country and none of you speak for me.

    June 16, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Rosslaw

    Ah, the wonderful munching sounds of the Tea Baggers eating their own. "Working across the aisle" is deemed a fatal character flaw to a morbidly obese herd of birthers who have no idea what democracy entails. There is no contemporary conservatism, simply an increasingly transparent ideological facade for "Freedom Works" corporate drivers to steal everything. I can see how they would deem even a pandering right-winger like Hatch willing to change to whatever chameleon color they demand to keep his job as too independent.

    June 16, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Peggy - TX

    Sounds like an opportunity for Sen. Orrin Hatch to seriously lead the effort to evolve the Republican Party into a more moderate Political entity that has legitimate purpose; unlike the Crazies running the Republican Party of today that is H3LL bent on crashing the American Economy in a badly misdirected attempt to unseat the First Black US President, establishing a Fascist style Government for the rich-by-the rich, and impose a narrow, distorted, view of Christian morality on everyone.

    June 16, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Maybe the GOP should rename itself since it is being reinvented or taken over by ultra-conservative wingnuts and Tea Party members. The GOP establishment will rue the day it encouraged and embraced the most extreme intolerant and hateful elements of the far right. Hard to accept that Senator Hatch, a conservative and honest gentleman of the old school, would be an outcast in his own party.

    June 16, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Phil in KC

    It's scary when Orrin Hatch is not conservative enough. Here is a guy whose conservative credentials used to be unchallenged. He was one of the most conservative people in Congress. Now they want to kick him out because he's too soft?? I don't want any part of a government like that.

    June 16, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Hatch is too "squeaky clean" for Republicans, they like to dig from the bottom of the barrell.

    June 16, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Ferret out the B.S.

    Maybe he knows something you don't!

    June 16, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Republican Robber Baron

    It's extremely naive to assume just because the Tea Klan and friends dumps the "old" party veterans that have served for decades, that the "new" crop of their replacements would be any different. Basically the notion that Term Limits and getting politicians out of office after x amount of years is a false assumption that any change or progress can be made. It's about the $ and cronyism with the scumbag lobbyists – not about the age. Get a clue please.

    June 16, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. thomas

    Going from bad to worse !
    Dumb to dumber !
    Conservative to Fascist !

    June 16, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Thank God I am a Democrat

    I am not a fan of Hatch but if the TEA party wants him out then maybe he is a good choice to stay in. Obviously I would prefer a Dem but if the people are going to vote repub might as well have one that is willing to comprimise at least sometime. I say to Sen. Hatch do not go over to the dark side of the TEA party. Be the senator you have been voted so many times to be. Screw them. They are losing relevance daily.

    June 16, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. rs

    More evidence of the circular firing squad that is the Republican Tea Party. The party is spinning out-of-control, ever rightward.

    June 16, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. johnmenacherjr

    I smell the Koch brothers behind this.Wonderful how the litmus tests they come up with get rid of the guys who can actually govern is'nt it? I am independent but the whitch hunts have gone bizarro.

    June 16, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. vet in texas

    the desparation of the GOP to funnel more hard working easily mislead people is astounding. I hope more and more people who align themselves with GOP/TP finally open their eyes and look at what is going on in this country. the following things that have recently happended expose what the leaders of the GOP's real agenda is:
    1. voting against keeping the SS tax at 4.2 percent
    2. voting against ending subsidies in billions of dollars for Oil, farming, and ethanol, when they obviously don't need it
    3. voting to end collective bargaining for public employees in the name of ending tax payer money to fund democrat donating unions.......however only waiving the republican donating unions
    4. voting to cut funding for planned parenthood claiming it ends abortion when there are already laws, thus cutting necessary monies for women's health
    5. voting immediately to give tax cuts in the hundreds of billions in the name of creating jobs. In January, NJ was at 9.4 in April, it's 9.3.
    Now if the followers would stop believing the gold and computer storage sellers, then they would pay attention, seems the TP should be all over them for misleading, but its' obvious why. The leaders are taking all the blind followers money through books, PACs, selling gold, emergency food, computer software, etc. etc. How long does it take for them to realize it. If you let them make you only bash Obama, then you won't be able to see the theft of our country from right in front of your noses. "they are what we thought they were" – Coach Denny Green

    June 16, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    The neo-cons assimmilated Newt, not sure if it stuck, though.
    Hatch must be next on their list for assimmilation.

    June 16, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Henry

    Orin, your masters are letting you know that you better toe the line. Listen to them. They are coming after you now and they won't stop. You kind of deserve it now that you are trying to back off your more reasonable positions by joining the crazies. It just never fails to amaze me that the Republican party is falling for these people. They did nothing to stop spending for the eight years that GWB was in power and now it just seems fashionable.

    Independents, is this what you are going to vote for? Is this extremism the kind of country that you want? Are you dumb enough to fall for this? But of course you are dumb enough. You do it each time you vote in a single Republican.

    June 16, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. CaliforniaBC

    What is so amazing is how these right-wing groups and Republicans in general ALL say we need limited government but WHY is it time and time and time again it's the Republicans who expand the powers of the federal government, mostly the executive branch. WHY? Is it because of their inherent hypocrisy that they are just incapable of seeing when they look in the mirror? They continually blame Democrats for this and have fooled their followers (constituency) into believing they are the stewards of small government.

    I would just like to know how it is so easy to get voters to believe everything but the facts.

    June 16, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    He's 77 years old – time to retire.

    June 16, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  23. vet in texas

    Question: if Obama raises taxes at least 3 times, gives millions of illegals amnesty, and sells arms to Iran, technically he should be the hightly considered to be the greatest president since Lincoln and Washington.

    June 16, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    "In the last 30 years, Senator Orrin Hatch has voted to increase the debt ceiling 16 times by a total of $7.6 trillion, a value equal to one half the national debt. He voted in support of the morally hazardous Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), against a ban on earmarks, in support of numerous pork-filled spending and subsidy bills, and against the inter-state sale of health insurance," adds Walker.
    ========================
    -The debt ceiling was usually raised for Republican presidents.
    -They are using TARP as an excuse because middle class America hated it. They actually loved TARP and wish they could pull of another one. (Could that be it?)
    -An outright ban on earmarks would not be smart. Earmarks are used like a return receipt to make sure the package of money goes to where it is supposed to. Ask NJ Gov. Christie why he cannot use high speed rail money for a tax cut for the wealthy. He passed his tax cut, and now he must pay back the feds. NJ is even deeper in debt.

    I must given credit for decency and morals for the being against the sale of interstate health insurance. The whole idea is just as much a scam as the idea that trickle down creates jobs. They want you to believe that you can just dial up the phone and purchase something in another state. GONG! When you do that today, the sale is treated as if you made the purchase in your own state. Ya know. You've seen the ads for years. "You must pay all local and state sales taxes."

    If you wish to purchase something "across state lines" then you must actually "go across state lines" in order to do it. Here's the real punch in the gut. What makes you think that the cheaper insurance is going to be in the state next door to yours? If you want a better deal, then you better get ready to take a hike.

    It gets better. Here's the knockout punch. The insurance "across state lines" is most likely going to be sold by the same company that sells within your state lines. Are you ducking, yet? Suckers. The company will look at you and say this, "Oh. You live in NYC. Our rates for people living in NYC are blah, blah." That's how it works with auto insurance, that is how it will work with health insurance.

    They will take where you live into account. The big lie you are being told is that where you buy it will affect the price. Where buy will not mean anymore to health insurance than it does to buying auto insurance. Suckers.

    June 16, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Independent Voter

    Members of the GOP

    Please tell me how it is possible for America to cut it's way to Economic Growth. I have a MBA from a Top 5 B-school so don't worry about talking over my head.

    June 16, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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