Major conservative group urging Hatch to retire
June 16th, 2011
01:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Major conservative group urging Hatch to retire

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election campaign says a leading grassroots conservative organization, that's calling on the longtime Republican senator from Utah to retire, is wasting their money.

"It's a curious decision by FreedomWorks considering Orrin Hatch agrees that a limited government is essential to rebuilding our country. If FreedomWorks is anxious to spend their money, why not put it into defeating Barack Obama in the Presidential race?" says Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen in a statement to CNN.

Earlier Thursday, CNN confirmed that FreedomWorks PAC plans to launch a "Retire Orrin Hatch" campaign this Saturday at the Utah Republican Convention. The story was first reported by the Daily Caller.

FreedomWorks is a nonprofit conservative organization based in the nation's capital that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organization behind the tea party movement. The group also supports conservative candidates in Republican primary and general election contests.

"It's clear that Senator Hatch is trying to capitalize on the popularity of the Tea Party movement by reinventing himself as a fiscal conservative. But his recent rhetoric and actions in favor of limited government simply do not erase decades of bad votes, costing taxpayers trillions of dollars," Russ Walker, FreedomWorks' vice president of political and grassroots campaigns, tells 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-3, UT) give conservatives in Utah and around the country a great opportunity to trade up."

Last year FreedomWorks was one of the 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's up for re-election next year and 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. Last month he also landed a perfect score in the American Conservative Union's 2010 ratings.

In March, Hatch attended a FreedomWorks function at its new headquarters in the nation's capital.

Earlier in the year, Walker visited Utah, to meet with grassroots conservatives about possible challenges to Hatch. The group's new move against Hatch is the first major action this cycle.

"In the last 30 years, Senator Orrin Hatch has voted to increase the debt ceiling 16 times by a total of $7.6 trillion, a value equal to one half the national debt. He voted in support of the morally hazardous Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), against a ban on earmarks, in support of numerous pork-filled spending and subsidy bills, and against the inter-state sale of health insurance," adds Walker.

"Senator Hatch has and will always fight for strong pro-growth policies of lower taxes, less regulation, a conservative judiciary and a limited government – just like he always has throughout his career. He's has always represented Utah values and will continue to fight for those values each and every day," responds Hansen.

Earlier this week conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin came to Hatch's defense, saying "it would be a sad place in the Senate if we knocked you off in the Republican system in Utah."

One possible conservative challenger could be Chaffetz, who was re-elected last November to a second term. Earlier this year he told the Deseret News that a run for the Senate is "a definite maybe," and said he intends to make his decision before the autumn. But in recent weeks he's indicated he's more serious about a challenge to Hatch.

C. Boyden Gray, who is a co-chairman of FreedomWorks Foundation Board, Thursday afternoon endorsed Hatch's 2012 re-election bid.

In a letter to Hatch, Gray wrote "From containing trial lawyers' excess, to deregulation, to promoting conservative jurists to the Federal Bench, no one has supported the principles of limited government better than you for years and I hope for your continued service in the future."

Filed under: FreedomWorks • Orrin Hatch
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Johnny DC

    Senator Hatch has en exemplary record. His reaches across the aisle have, for the most part, been fairly well-timed and in good spirit for laying future foundations for Conservative shifts. God bless Orrin Hatch, and shame on this supposed Conservative group that's trying to attack such a statesman.

    June 16, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. rhumba

    Even more proof that these "grass roots" republican PACS are bullies who are trying to take over the U.S. I think that maybe Glenn Beck needs to do some research about them. They sound like extremists who are trying to harm our country. I think it's time for all of us moderates from both sides of the aisle to TAKE OUT COUNTRY BACK. Organizations like Freedom Works will bring us the real 1984.

    June 16, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Enough Already

    This fighting amoung the Republican party will continue until the non Tea Party Republicans unite and defeat them. They are a minority yet everyone is afraid of them. Grow a set!!

    June 16, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Hatch should stay in the Senate if that is what he wants to do. If people are want to put up only ideologically pure candidates, it is going to stall everything that Congress should be doing. We can't have that. We need people who are willing to understand the issues and reach a compromise so that the work of the country can continue.

    June 16, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. OneMoreTime

    Freedomworks, and all associated with them have no reasoning nor logic behind their demands.
    Orrin Hatch voted to raise debt ceiling 16 times – 8 of those times were at GW Bush's request.
    Orrin Hatch voted for TARP – again, a request from GW Bush for 700B dollar bailout, which they gave him.
    So, by that reasoning, are they "urging" all Republicans who voted with Hatch to "retire"? Would that include
    Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, and anybody else who voted "yes". Of course not, so their reasoning is
    blowin' in the wind, and cannot be reconciled with their "pick and choose" who should "retire" and who
    should not, rhetoric. Anybody know how Dick Armey voted during his years in Washington?
    Lastly, where was all of this uproar before 2009? Oh, right, it was, after all, a Republican dominated Congress and
    White House for six years. All was right with the world then, they were livin' the good life.

    June 16, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. w l jonesj

    If all these policitical group toke a real tax paying job and pay there taxes direct into paying off our national debt we could be ot of it in three years. Just think how many cover intitution we have in this country that don^t pay anything in keeping our government operation running. Bless.

    June 16, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. DA

    It is time to put term limit on everyone that holds a political office on the HILL!!!!

    June 16, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. ja

    you gotta love the divison, we will gid rid of all, and use grad students

    June 16, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    7-Feb-81 985 50 R
    30-Sep-81 1,079 94 R
    28-Jun-82 1,143 64 R
    30-Sep-82 1,290 147.2 R
    26-May-83 1,389 98.8 R
    21-Nov-83 1,490 101 R
    25-May-84 1,520 30 R
    6-Jun-84 1,573 53 R
    13-Oct-84 1,823 250 R
    14-Nov-85 1,903 80.8 R
    12-Dec-85 2,078 174.9 R
    21-Aug-86 2,111 32.3 R
    21-Oct-86 2,300 189 R
    15-May-87 2,320 20 R
    10-Aug-87 2,352 32 R
    29-Sep-87 2,800 448 R
    7-Aug-89 2,870 70 R
    8-Nov-89 3,122 252.7 R
    9-Aug-90 3,195 72.3 R
    28-Oct-90 3,230 35 R
    5-Nov-90 4,145 915 R
    6-Apr-93 4,370 225 D
    10-Aug-93 4,900 530 D
    29-Mar-96 5,500 600 D
    5-Aug-97 5,950 450 D
    11-Jun-02 6,400 450 R
    27-May-03 7,384 984 R
    16-Nov-04 8,184 800 R
    20-Mar-06 8,965 781 R
    29-Sep-07 9,815 850 R
    5-Jun-08 10,615 800 R
    3-Oct-08 11,315 700 R
    17-Feb-09 12,104 789 R
    24-Dec-09 12,394 290 R
    12-Feb-10 14,284 1400 D

    June 16, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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