Hatch might 'die before his term' ends, opponent charges
September 18th, 2012
12:55 PM ET
9 years ago

Hatch might 'die before his term' ends, opponent charges

(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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Filed under: 2012 • Orrin Hatch
soundoff (83 Responses)

    These republicans are a piece of work. Is there no low they won't stoop to?

    September 18, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |

    Disregard previous comment. Give him his gold watch.

    September 18, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Karma–why electing this old junk.

    September 18, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Mark

    Stay classy...

    September 18, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. CBR

    Orren Hatch is the candidate. It is up to the people of Utah to decide if he should continue as a US Senator. THe Democratic candidate is making foolish statements. It does occur on both sides of the aisle.

    September 18, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. demwit

    Out with the low spending old guys, In with the progressively liberal big spenders! Let your children worry about my debt!!

    September 18, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. truth hurts

    I guess when one gets desperate one says nutty desperate things like this. I would stand next to this guy if there is a lightning storm with 10 miles! very bad karma....

    September 18, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. LBAM

    why even bother with UTAH? That piece of land should be a national reserve..

    September 18, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    an idiotic thing to say

    September 18, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Hatch is a really old person, but it was not the best way to say that. Maybe he should have asked Romney how to say it "elegantly". ha ha ha ha ha ha

    September 18, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. WhereIsPalin

    It might not be a new low in politics, but it's got to rank up there in stupidity.

    September 18, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    Wow, that's a very low blow. That's one seat the dems can kiss goodbye in November. Come on dems, we don't have to crawl in the gutter with the GOP to win. We are much better than that. And I hope and pray I can make it to Senator Hatch's age one day.

    September 18, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Hatch is in good health, is mentally sharp,and, unlike the rest of the GOP, seems to have some integrity. I don't mind seeing him win.

    September 18, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Dave

    I remember Obama campaign saying that about mccain!

    September 18, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Whatever

    As a generally democratic voting person, gotta say, that this is a pretty weak line of attack. Plenty of reasons not to vote for Hatch, but his chance of dying isn't one of them.

    There's the possibility that I may die before this comment clears the mods. 6 years is a long time, nobody has a sure thing and I sure wouldn't want to tempt fate by saying that an opponent of mine was gonna die before his term was out....irony can be harsh and, by all reports, has a wicked sense of humor.

    September 18, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This is almost as funny as in CT in 2000. Joe Lieberman was on the ballot as VP for Gore and as a Senator. He did win the Senate race in CT by a wide margin (90%), but his opponent tried to convince the governor that he should be Senator because Gore/Lieberman also won the Presidential contest in the state. Our governor (who went on to get a felony conviction, just like the Republican Senate candidate did) wisely declined to declare him the winner. Even had Gore/Lieberman won the Great Florida Chad Debate, the Governor had already clandestinely decided that one of our Congressional delegation would get the nod to fill out the two years before a special election would be needed.

    Taking that into consideration, should Hatch win (95% probability) and die in office (less than 50% chance of that), the Republican Governor of Utah will appoint another Republican to take his place. Of course, if he appoints Liljenquist to the job, Hatch will be spinning so fast in his grave that it will make the Mormon Tabernacle itself rock on its foundations!

    September 18, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. ALittleBird

    Wow. I can honestly say that as a true blue democrat, after hearing Howell's over the limit comments, I would vote for Hatch. Hatch is certainly one of the less radical members of the GOP anyway. Sort of like, vote for the devil you know, not the one you don't know.

    September 18, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Facts don't Lie

    Wow don't say this too loud it might wind up in the Romney/Ryan campaign as an ad.

    September 18, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Not very classy Scott Howell !

    September 18, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    All our senators and congressmen/women are on welfare. They show up one week every month, get full benefits and good retirement and DO NOTHING FOR US.

    September 18, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. just sayin

    i guess the same thing could have been said about biden.... but wasn't because it is so devoid of class or intelligence. i guess he couldn't thing of a single positive reason why somebody should vote for him. and after this comment, i can see why.

    September 18, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Wes Scott

    I can think of absolutely nothing I like about Orrin Hatch. He is a political hack who votes based upon how his contributors tell him to vote rather than what is on the best interest of the nation and his constituents.

    Having said that, it was wholly imappropriate to bring up his age and the possibility of his death while in office during a political campaign. Debate and run against his positions and for your own positions, but leave age out of the equation. Apparently, the people of Utah like Hatch enough to keep sending him back. They know his age, and they should know that he really has not served them well, but it is their vote and their decision to make.

    September 18, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. B.

    Term Limits, there are lots of other people with NEW ideas out there.

    These guys are intrenched, after many terms in their own political world, and fail to -Stay In Touch- with the rest of the people they are supposed to represent.

    September 18, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. cigarman

    I dont want to wish death on anyone, but do wish that ALL Republicans would just go away so that Obama and the Democrats could have time to straighten out the United States after eight years of George Bush and Chaney. It will take about twelve more years to get the United States back to where it was when Clinton was President.

    September 18, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. a little sad

    I am seriously hoping that the Dems keep the Senate, but this was over-the-top inappropriate. The Dem hadn't a shot anyway, but now I'm rooting against him.

    September 18, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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