How does a Maine senator’s retirement affect the re-election chances of a senator all the way across the country in Utah?
One of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s main arguments for re-election was that if the conservative lost his seat, Maine’s moderate Olympia Snowe would take his place as the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees taxes, Social Security and Medicare, The Salt Lake Tribune
Snowe’s retirement “absolutely” shatters that worry, Dan Liljenquist, one of Hatch’s GOP rivals, told the paper. “I think Olympia Snowe recognizes we need a new generation of leaders in this country. The United States Senate is and always has been larger than one person.”
But Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, scoffs at the idea that Snowe’s departure will hurt Hatch’s re-election campaign. Her status was only “a minor argument,” he told the Tribune. “Does it affect our race? No, not really. But you always hate to see a Republican senator retiring. That’s too bad she is leaving.”
Hatch, Utah’s longest-serving senator, faces two Republican challengers — Liljenquist and Rep. Chris Herrod. They both question his conservative credentials. Unless one of the troika gains 60 percent support from delegates at April’s state GOP convention, the top two will fight it out in a primary.
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