(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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Why, I'm shocked to learn that Hatch is still alive. The Teaparty told me that he was a RINO and was dead.
Wilson.....note that despite your fairytale of Obama's efforts to increase gas prices.......that gas prices under Obama STILL have NOT hit the high that G. Bush administered for the profit of his oil buddies.
Go buy the other half of your brain, get some medication for your Tourette's-like outbursts of nonsense, and then maybe you can partake in adult conversation.
This is disgusting. Should Senator Hatch pass away, he would still be a far better man than Howell.
Hatch is a decent man, for a Republican. What a stupid comment. This fool must have taken foot in mouth lessons from that idiot Romney. Obama 2012!!!
Lots of us wouldn't mind if Orrin Hatch were to die, but Mr. Howell's remarks are loathsome and disgusting. They show why Senator Hatch will be reelected.
@dumbas,,,There goes your credibility. Consult some of your more honest Lib friends. I stated an undisputable fact, no fairy tail. Yes during 2008 gas did hit slightly higher prices than has been since. But, when Obama took office prices were well under $2 a gallon, another undisputable fact. As of now, anything you post is considered suspect at best, irrelevant at worst.
As a democrat, I find this comment very demeaning and a classless way to win a seat. I don't like Hatch's politics but he does not deserve this kind of treatment. Just because their are Republicans who can be crass doesn't mean we have to stoop to that level.
I dont like hatch, but damn im a democrat and I condemn what this deomcrat said. He should lose.
I often vote for Democrats but would vote for Hatch based on that commet from Howell. Howell sounds too much like a modern Republican – willing to forsake all integrity and honor to get elected.
Wow...what a classless move on Howell's part. Guess what Howell...you could die while in office too! Never know when that heart attack might strike.
and these are the same Democrats who 'care' about people?
There is NO excuse for this – I don't care what party this guy belongs to. He needs to apologize NOW and none of that "If I offended anyone" garbage
As a life long Democrat, I think that this comment is out of line. Howell might die before the term is up. Such stupid remarks.
Gas prices have nothing to do with the President. He as President has nothing to do with how high or low they go. It is the oil companies that are looking to increase their already hign profits. Driving from Delaware to Florida in the state of VA, I paid $3.59 a gallon and 7 miles up the road the same brand was $3.95. Now is that an order from the President??????
On behalf of sane Democrats- Senator Hatch- I apologize. I normally hear this sort of thing from fringe Republicans and gringe at it. This disgusts me and should be grounds for the man's name being taken off the ballot.
Mabe he and the idiot Republican from Missouri can go at each other- talk about the perfect duo for voting none of the above!
That's a horrible thing to say. I'm a Dem and think this guy has no class.
It would appear that Republicans don't have the exclusive on insensitive, moronic remarks.
Wow! Guess what. Wouldn't surprise me if Scott Howell kicks the bucket first! A statement like his just proves he's way to immature to hold an office – well, maybe Junior High class president...nah, too immature for even that.
That's not what the Pres said for one he is smart and knows damn well that he nor anyone in this gvmnt controls the price of gas go educate yourself this Pres GW and no other Pres controls the cost of gas! The Pres stated that probably the only way that he would get support for clean energy would be IF gas skyrocketed not for him to make gas skyrocket. He has no control over that OK if there is ever a case to invest in education...smart libs know this and smart repubs know this and smart repubs know that they can tell dumb uneducated people anything.
Also as a Democrat I say Howell shame on you that man may live to 90 and you could be hit by a bus tomorrow if you're losing lose with some dignity!
Sounds like Howell is desperate. I'm a Democrat and not a Senator Hatch fan but that comment was completely uncalled for and I would imagine rather demeaning to seniors, many of whom are still very productive human beings.
Hatch already looks like a corpse! What's wrong with his coloring?
We all "might" die tomorrow too. What's his point? He thinks he's a safer bet because he's "younger"?
That's awful, but funny that a Dem is now using underhanded, nasty campaign tactics like the Repubs. There's no chance of a Dem winning Mormon Utah, but at least the guy is giving it his all to try and win.
I agree, Hatch is a decent man, for a Republican.
Nobody should demean him in anyway.
He deserves respect.