Forbes endorsement of Hatch doesn't deter FreedomWorks
September 7th, 2011
02:53 PM ET
3 years ago

Forbes endorsement of Hatch doesn't deter FreedomWorks

Washington (CNN) - FreedomWorks says it's still committed to finding a consensus fiscal conservative candidate to challenge longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, even though a FreedomWorks board member has endorsed Hatch.

Monday morning the Hatch campaign was touting an endorsement by Steve Forbes, the former two-time GOP presidential candidate, CEO of Forbes, and a vice chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation board.

"I feel it a privilege to endorse your reelection effort next year. I have known you since the late 1970's when you first came to the Senate and courageously battled anti-growth, anti-business legislation being vigorously pushed by Big Labor," said Forbes in a letter to Hatch that was released by the senator's campaign. "That was not fashionable in Washington in those days, but you were not to be deterred. Your pro-growth, pro-entrepreneurial efforts continue to this day."

"Steve Forbes has been a leading advocate of a lower taxes, pro-growth, and pro-entrepreneurial economic strategy and I am thankful to receive his support for my reelection," said Hatch, in a statement.

But FreedomWorks President & CEO Matt Kibbe tells CNN that "every member of the board has their own opinion" and adds that "the FreedomWorks board is like the tea party movement, nobody tells anybody else what to do."

Hatch, who is running next year for a seventh term in the Senate, is facing opposition from some in the tea party movement, including FreedomWorks, a major DC-based conservative grassroots group that has provided much of the organization behind major tea party events, and that among other things, supports fiscal conservative candidates.

Last year FreedomWorks was one of the tea party affiliated 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 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. Earlier this year he landed a perfect score in the American Conservative Union's 2010 ratings.

Last month Hatch received support from an unlikely person, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a favorite of many in the tea party movement.

"To your particular point about Senator Orrin Hatch, he is doing good in terms of trying to get a balanced budget and he has been for the last couple of decades. He has pushed hard for some fiscal reforms that we have got to see implemented," Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, said on the Fox News Channel.

And last month Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah announced he would not launch a primary challenge against Hatch. The two-term congressman, who represents Utah's 3rd Congressional district, enjoys strong support from many tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives.

Kibbe was in Utah last weekend to meet with two potential GOP challengers to Hatch: Utah tea party organizer David Kirkham and state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. The Hatch campaign criticized the trip, saying Utah voters wouldn't be swayed by outsiders "who think they can tell us what to do."

Kibbe points out that Forbes is also not from Utah and asks whether the Hatch campaign is "for or against outsiders coming in and telling Utah residents what to do."

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN.


Filed under: 2012 • FreedomWorks • Orrin Hatch • Steve Forbes • Utah
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Voice of Reason

    Hatch is a compromiser. He'd rather make a decent deal and get something done than simply draw a line in the sand, put his fingers in his ears, and shut down entirely. So naturally the Tea Party hates him. They dont want progress, it sounds too much like 'progressive'.

    September 7, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Voice of Reason

    The Tea Partiers hate Hatch cause he'd rather work on bi-partisian progress than go down swinging for some idealogical crusade for the rich.

    September 7, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Voice of Reason

    Hatch is articulate, intelligent, and willing to talk to (gasp!) democrats... So the TP will do their best to make him look evil. Shouldnt be hard when the TP constituency is a bunch of non-thinkers.

    September 7, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Bill

    Hatch will be removed in 2012. Time to retire.

    September 7, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    Hatch was a dinosaur ten years ago, but the tea-baggers are born-again troglodites. Regressive behavior leads to extinction.

    September 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh, cute. A purity contest amongst the perpetually sleazy and dirty.

    No amount of PR and spin can change the fact that the GOP is now kissing the collective butts of the so-called "grassroots" movement it thought it could control. The creation is eating its maker. I hope Freedomworks chokes on its arrogance.

    September 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    "every member of the board has their own opinion"
    Simple in GOP there is no leader , Party is divided they un happy about their candidates only “OBAMA” uniting the party now

    September 7, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Steve

    "...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."

    Due to the way our government works, the only way a Senator/Congressman can actually get something accomplished is by reaching across the aisle to create bipartisan support. Say what you want about whether or not the tea party should absolutely control the government, that's simply not going to happen – tea partiers won't win in blue states and are at a disadvantage in moderate states. Essentially, by the tea party doing what it can to remove people willing to compromise, it's handcuffing the government and stopping it from being productive.

    September 7, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    " and adds that "the FreedomWorks board is like the tea party movement, nobody tells anybody else what to do."
    -------------------------------------------------–
    WHAAAAT?!
    The Teahadists are known the country over for their lockstep synchronization of efforts to bolster THEIR agenda. You are either with them or against them. Just ask tMoney talkshat schmuck they kicked to the curb in New Hampshire last week, or any number of former Rethugs now Teatards that have had to kowtow to their madcow disease in order to stay in public office.
    Money talks, and the Teatards are very well funded by the Koch brothers.
    Sorry Hatch but you don't have the cojones that our President has to go against these mutants.
    Dust off your knee pads buddy, Forbes or no Forbes endorsement.

    September 7, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sorry typo, it should've read:
    "Just ask that schmuck they kicked to the curb in New Hampshire last week..."

    September 7, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Hatch isn't crazy enough for most of the Tea Party. It would be interesting to see how well the Mormons turn out in the 2012 election if the evangelical right-wing reject Romney.

    September 7, 2011 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hatch, who 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.
    -------------------------------------------------–
    We are witnessing the systematic elimination of any and all reasonable Conservatives willing to adhere to the unspoken priniciple of good governing: compromise.
    They are being replaced in short order by intransigents, and right-wing extremists who are nothing but the mouthpieces for corporate America.
    You will soon be able to use the freaking Constitution for kindling. If the fire doesn't catch throw in one of your venerable Founding Fathers.
    May God have mercy on this country.

    September 7, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. California Conservative

    Obama will be gone before Hatch easily.

    OMG = Obama Must Go!

    September 7, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Endorsements don't always mean that those endorsements are good for the voters.

    September 7, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Let's see. We have the Tea Party with its inherent phobia of LDS office holders trying to unseat a veteran LDS Senator in a state that is majority LDS. Where are they going to find an Evangelical Baptist who can be elected over a Mormon in Utah?

    September 7, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If we are to preserve our democracy, one person has one vote, we can no longer afford to go blindly to the polls and pull the lever for undercover Teahadists America!
    This little group of fringe nuts that we used to laugh at has insinuated it's way into our political system and they are intent on laying the groundwork for the rich to get richer at the expense of everyone else.
    The idiots do not realize that should they succeed they last sacrificial lambs will be themselves.
    Research whom you're pulling the lever for people before you put us into another November 2010 Surprise that we won't be able to extricate ourselves from.
    Obama 2012

    September 7, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    This is what is going to happen to the old time repubiicans. Those who were always willing to compromise. Until somebody in the party of hell no grows a pair and tells their leaders the koch brothers and limbaugh to go suck on an egg this will continue to occur until they are all replaced by the lunatic traitors of the tea bagging party.
    Then again, mcnasty started this mess with the AK independent party trojan horse and here we are three years later!

    September 7, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    I hope the Tea Baggers do find someone to challenge and beat Hatch in the primary, that way the democrats will be assured of taking over the seat held by hatch far too long. the country needs more democrats in the Senate to put an end to the GOP gridlock of doing nothing, having no ideas, no plans and just wishing that the country fails. The GOP and the tea Baggers really need to go.

    September 7, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    this Tea Party bunch would call Ronald Reagan a liberal! Heck maybe even Barry Goldwater as well. I am glad the country is starting to wake up and see what this movement is REALLY about...hence their current 27% approval rating.

    September 7, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. vic , nashville ,tn

    real meaning OMG = Obama More Goodness

    September 7, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. A Kickin' Donkey

    Steve Forbes is an idiot. The perfect example of a trust-fund baby that inherieted privaledge & wealth. I you listen to things he said when running for President, you'll know how mentally challenged this Forbes is. He is not his daddy, Malcolm.

    September 7, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Flint Rock

    Forbes couldn't tell you what day it was even if had a calendar in his face.

    September 7, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. MrFoobar2U

    ..and where was the tea party when Bush was dragging this country down ?
    sure as the rises.. the "darky" is the problem...

    sheesh.. predictable.

    September 7, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "Forbes couldn't tell you what day it was even if had a calendar in his face."

    He wouldn't bother to try unless you greased his palm anyway.

    "Kibbe points out that Forbes is also not from Utah and asks whether the Hatch campaign is "for or against outsiders coming in and telling Utah residents what to do.""

    And what are non-human, non-voting, non-reproducing, non-sweating, non-bleeding, non-family-raising multinational corporations giving massive secret donations to conservative "Super PACs" to influence our elections processes if not "OUTSIDERS"?

    September 7, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |