(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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actually there is a certain point when you should just go off to sunny acres and sit on the porch to feed the ducks. this is not meant to disparage mr hatch. he's one of the better members of his party left and it would be a blow to them to lose him. however how long is to long is a real discussion that should be taking place. there's one thing to be said for the wisdom of experience and another to be said for becoming a career politician. this would be an easier subject to brooch with the introduction of term limits to the house and senate. a reform that needs to happen.
Cheap shot Howell.
Just goes to show there are jerks in both parties that have the common sense of a rock. What he should be arguing for is term limits; that would prevent someone from spending that much time in Congress. It's no nolonger healthy for America for representatives to serve so long. They become out of touch and more beholding to the lobbyists.
.... he could be Democrat VP material!
Be careful what you wish for, it might just happen to you, no one has a patton on life or death. Fool.
There is a right way to suggest that your opponent is too old, and a wrong way. And this idiot chose the wrong way. I wonder if he would have made such an outlandish, classless statement had anyone been taking him seriously.
Keep saying idiotic things like that and he might run again – it would be too easy not it.
Kick him out of the Democratic party. Party does not need insensitive morons.
Yes, a tasteless statement for sure. But no where near as bad as Elizabeth Warran claiming to be a minority to gain advantage and sympathy!
This from the party that during the republican debates wildly cheered the suggestion that uninsured people should die. This is news?
There may be plenty of good reasons to vote against Hatch, although he is one of the least repugnant of the Republicans, but that he might die while in office is not one of them.
On the other hand, for his opponent, simply making the statement is a good reason not to vote for him. Romney says enough stupidly outlandish things for any one election season. Romney does not need help from this Democratic idiot.
has the country gone off the deepend???? orin hatch is really one of the good ones and this is coming from a liberal democrat...sen hatch is a dying breed....somebody who believes in the art of compromise...he isnt one of these all or nothing right wing nut jobs...
Trillions spent on two unfunded wars, on two tax cuts, on bank bailouts, and on Medicare Part-D. Government grew by the largest increment in over 50 years with the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. All this happened under George W. Bush and the GOP.
Who are the big government, big spenders in Washington?
Right-wingers live in a deluded, fact-free world, and no amount of truth will sway them to escape the right-wing insane asylum they gleefully exist within.
I consider myself a liberal and am completely offended by the comments. Orrin Hatch has distinguished himself in the U.S. Senate by getting things done through hard work and finding common ground with other senators. Good luck, Senator.
Yeah, the fact that Republicans in Congress have faught the recovery every single day of Obama's tenure had no effect on the economy today, right?
No jobs bills, nothing for working class Americans- just tax cuts for the rich.
The sheet has been lifted. Mr. Romney finally spoke truthfully how he feels about the less-than-rich in America. Only a fool (a rich one) would vote for Romney now.
Republicans fighting the recovery??? Not hardly, their putting the brakes on the country damaging policies of this administration is why there has been any recovery at all.
While it may be true that he could die in office, it's still cold to say so.
But I really don't think it's a 'cheap-shot'.....just cold.
"If John McCain is still alive on Inauguration Day, I owe a guy fifty bucks."
Is it too late to add Dick Cheney to the "dead pool?"
Wilson - Republicans fighting the recovery??? Not hardly, their putting the brakes on the country damaging policies of this administration is why there has been any recovery at all.
oh come on now! You know the country would have been SO MUCH BETTER OFF if Obama had gotten another $4 TRILLION stimulus plan, government controlled and run universal healthcare AND cap and trade passed so we could be paying $8 a gallon for gasoline!! Or would it be $10 a gallon???
Okay, I'm a Democrat and I think that was a foolish thing for Mr. Howell to say. At least he didn't say that 47% of the American people are deadbeats and hopeless cases.
I am a center left Democrat and Obama supporter and think that Howell's comments were tasteless and completely out of line.
Wow. Tacky, tacky. He might NOT die.
Howell must be a closet Republican with comments like that.
Should retire. At least the Catholic church disenfranchises cardinals at 75. They are still around but ...
I'd take a deceased Hatch over a living Howell any day.
@truth hurts,,,,you left a puddle of sarcasm all over my screen. But it was funny. That aside, The left does not want to remember that Obama and his energy czar said their goal is to bring gas prices up to what is being paid in Europe. They have been successful as we are paying what Europe was paying then, but now Europe is up to $6 plus, a gallon.