Hatch showdown? Tea party activists knock on GOP's door, literally
June 27th, 2011
01:18 PM ET
3 years ago

Hatch showdown? Tea party activists knock on GOP's door, literally

Washington (CNN) – Will it spark an altercation between tea party activists and establishment Republicans?

On Monday, leaders and supporters of FreedomWorks - a major tea party sponsor - will make an unscheduled visit to the offices of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that helps elect Republicans to the Senate. And the activists will deliver a message to the NRSC: butt out of the Utah senate race.

At issue: Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election to a seventh term in 2012.

As FreedomWorks works to deny Hatch an eighth term, the group is infuriated that the NRSC will work to keep Hatch in office. Adam Brandon, a national spokesman for FreedomWorks, laid out to CNN what activists intend to do during their Monday visit.

"At about 12:30 p.m. [EST] today, our Utah [members,] probably about 15 of them, will be joined by about 30 others of the tea party activists and they're going to storm the [National] Republican Senatorial Committee and ask them to stay out of Utah," Brandon said. He added: "Because they've thrown in with Hatch."

FreedomWorks' Washington office is just blocks away from those of the NRSC. And the NRSC has said that Sen. John Cornyn does support Hatch's re-election.

When asked if he expects any altercation during the visit, Brandon said, "I wouldn't call it an altercation. But usually when you do something like this, they don't want to talk. And our guys will get a little steamed that someone won't come down and talk with us. Then eventually someone will."

"One thing that this movement does is, we travel where the battle is. We run to the sound of the gun," Brandon added. "This is probably Orrin Hatch's worst nightmare. This race is probably going to get nationalized."

The group feels Hatch - who has a history of working with Democrats - is not a strong enough conservative and recently launched a "Retire Orrin Hatch" campaign.

Russ Walker, FreedomWorks' vice president of political and grassroots campaigns, recently told 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-Utah, give conservatives in Utah and around the country a great opportunity to trade up."

Aware of the coming visit, NRSC Communications Director Brian Walsh would not criticize it or the activists.

"We respect their views just as we respect the views of others who are strongly supporting Senator Hatch's re-election, including [conservative radio talk show host] Mark Levin and C. Boyden Gray who is the co-chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation Board," Walsh said in a statement. "But as Vice-Chairman of the NRSC, few people have worked harder than Orrin Hatch to help Republicans win back the Senate next year and Senator Cornyn is proud to support him."

Yet Hatch's campaign manager was far more blunt.

"Well that's interesting, they say butt out of the Utah race. Yet a week ago they came to the Utah Republican convention with a bunch of out-of-staters to try and tell Utahans what to do," Dave Hansen told CNN. "The Utahans were telling them: we know what we [want.] We can handle this ourselves in state."

"This is organized by a bunch of Washington, D.C. special interest groups to try and get some media," Hansen added.

Stressing that Hatch has been a "conservative his entire time in the U.S. senate, Hansen said: "Sen. Hatch has represented the state very well. And he's campaigning very hard. And in the end he's going to win."

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: 2012 • FreedomWorks • Orrin Hatch • Tea Party
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ITALIAN NONNO

    Dick Armey, and the Koch Brothers are the real terrorists of this world. They wrap themselves up in the Flag and Patriotism, while at the same time exploiting every loop hole to make themselves filthy rich, at the expense of the middle class and seniors. I do not always agree with Hatch,.. but he's earned his stripes, and served his State. What has Freedomworks accomplished?.. except to spread hate, lies and ill will.

    June 27, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. gt

    people get it.... stop the wasteful spending....but bullying wont work..if you got a spine that is..

    June 27, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. JEBUW

    Full Disclosure: I'm a life long Democrat and do not live in Utah. This sort of goes along with my post on Tim Pawlenty. If the Tea Party wants to stay relevent, they are going to have to stop trying to chop down more moderate, experienced Republicans. I'm not a fan of Orin Hatch, but one could definitely argue that Tea Party candidates cost the GOP a majority or at least a split of the Senate. And, even with the seats that Tea Party candidates picked up, you could also argue it has caused a splintering of the right. As a Democrat, I'm torn. I feel that this movement is what happens when you take unhappy people and lie to them about what the other side has done to "motivate" them to get out the vote. However, I feel that we now have a very uninformed group of people in this country that are trying to move us in a very bad direction.

    June 27, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    The GOP has lost sight of what it should stand for, and is instead, standing for the extreme religious right, which is divisive, bigoted, and un-American.

    June 27, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. logic in LA

    It's time to start treating Tea Partiers for what they are – Hypocrites. And let's start with their standard bearer- Bachman.
    SBA loans for her husband< Farm Subsidies for her family? Foster parent money for her? Medicare for her grandparents? Her government pension?Lobbying for federal funds for her district for pet projects? None of this is wrong in my eyes, but then I'm not the one saying the Federal Government should stay out of peoples lives. When you say one thing and and do another the description is Hypocrisy.

    June 27, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Bill

    Hatch will be removed in 2012.

    June 27, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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