(CNN) - Don't vote for Orrin Hatch, the six-term senator's opponent says.
Why? Because, Democratic candidate Scott Howell says in a fundraising letter, he could "die before his term is through."
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After the letter, obtained by CNN affiliate KTVX, made headlines there, Howell and his campaign doubled down on their age-related criticism of the 78-year-old Utah incumbent.
Hatch's race is considered solidly in his column by the non-partisan political watchers the Cook Political Report and Rothenberg Political Report.
Earlier this season, he defeated a primary challenge from a former state senator Dan Liljenquist after failing by a few dozen votes (out of 4,000) to shut down the challenge at the state party convention in April.
That primary race saw its own attention-grabbing stunts, including Liljenquist's announcement that he would debate a cardboard cutout of Hatch, after Hatch agreed only to a radio debate and no television match ups.
In the fund-raising note to supporters obtained by KTVX, Howell says, "Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy."
He continued in a phone interview with the station, "Orrin Hatch needs the golden handshake now. It's time we give him a nice watch and we send him on his way."
Hatch's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, told KTVX in an interview that the comments were offensive, and of Howell, "He's got a campaign that's going nowhere, nobody knows who he is. "
Should he be reelected, Hatch has said that a seventh term in the Senate would be his last.
The U.S. Constitution sets no age of retirement for members of the Senate, but does stipulate that senators must be at least 30 years old.
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@ Wes Scott
Right on buddy. I really believe we should have term limits, but until we do, age cannot, and should not, even come into it.
Not surprising liberals discriminate based on age. Oh and don't forget fear they love that tactic.
WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! Do you want a president to protect this country or do you want someone who will diminish America's power to the point that we will be attacked on our homeland again!!!
Tacky. I'm a democrat, but let's get real. This is tacky. Besides, you could have made this arguement legitimately for twenty-five years against Strom Thurmond and been still been wrong!
While I have alot of concern about "some" of these "old timers" in office this was just a stupid thing to say! YES, as we get older, life gets shorter, but as death comes to all of us it is not always about age! I worry more about those that are in office that have trouble speaking, due to age or illness, rather than their age.
sounds like threat from the Godless party
I'm a Democrat, but if I lived in Utah, I would vote for Hatch. A moron like this definitely does not belong in the Senate. He sounds more like he should be in the Tea Party, where most of the idiots have gravitated lately.
@ dunbas...The only reason that gas hit an all time high while bush was president is all due to a hurricane that shut down refineries and fuel pipe lines. No more No less
Boy do you libs love to lie.