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Utah Republicans Deny Bob Bennett’s Bid For Re-Election

by @ 6:19 pm on May 8, 2010. Filed under 2010 Elections, Congress, Elections, Political Parties, Politics, Republicans

In a move that was somewhat expected, yet still quite astounding, the Utah Republican Party has declined to pick three-term Senator Bob Bennett as their nominee in 2010:

Three-term Sen. Bob Bennett was driven from office Saturday by anti-incumbency rage and hostility toward Washington, becoming the first victim of the rising discontent.

Bennett was bounced from office on the second round of balloting, failing to finish ahead of attorney Mike Lee and businessman Tim Bridgewater, who move on to the final round.

If neither Bridgewater nor Lee receives 60 percent of the delegate vote they will square off in a June 22 primary.

Bennett becomes the first Utah senator to fail to get his party’s nomination since Democrats tossed out Sen. William King in 1940 over King’s opposition to the New Deal.

When the results were announced, there was a huge ovation with shouts and yells of “He’s gone! He’s gone!” Delegates leapt to their feet, and embraced and waved “Do Not Tread On Me” flags.


A member of the Senate appropriations committee and close adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Bennett came under fire in recent months for supporting the first round of bank bailouts during the Bush administration and his co-sponsorship of a bipartisan health reform package that would have required individuals to buy insurance.

That anger, joined with an anti-incumbent rage fueled by tea parties and 9/12 groups, have pushed Bennett to the brink of defeat. A poll for The Salt Lake Tribune conducted two weeks ago showed Bennett with support from just 16 percent of the delegates.

Considering that Bennett had a lifetime rating of 84 from the American Conservative Union, one can only imagine that it was his willingness to work across aisles that raised the ire of the Tea Party activists responsible for his downfall. And that’s unfortunate if it’s true.

Given that this is Utah, it seems likely that whoever the Republican nominee is will end up being the new Senator.

4 Responses to “Utah Republicans Deny Bob Bennett’s Bid For Re-Election”

  1. Dutch says:

    This is just sad. The Wyden-Bennett Health Americans Act was actually a pretty good compromise in the health care debate, and the powers that be slammed him for it.

    Allowing the far right and often policy ignorant base to decide the candidates is sometimes a really bad idea.

  2. ACU rating is worthless as it is based on two dozen votes. Your congressman historically also gets a high ACU rating. The NTU rating is much better especially on spending and it is based on over 300 votes not the handful that ACU is based on. Bennett has received a 54 from NTU as recently as 2008. He bounced back in 2009 to a respectable score on NTU, but when you are in the minority anyone can be a faux fiscal conservative. Plus the two major votes noted in the article are enough to show he has no compass on fiscal matters and booting him was the right choice.

  3. spinnkerca says:

    actually, it was tarp and proposing a bill with a mandatory health insurance purchase provision.

    There is no question about what the issues were.

  4. And as the Club for Growth release on same has pointed out, he has been an apologist for Fannie and Freddie’s structure….

    We did it! The Club for Growth PAC defeated big-spending Sen. Bob Bennett today in his bid for renomination by Utah Republicans. It was the first time in Utah history that an incumbent Republican Senator has been denied his party’s nomination.

    Bennett’s defeat also marks the first time the Club’s PAC has defeated an incumbent Republican senator. It will set off a political earthquake in Congress.

    Bennett’s defeat came at the Utah Republican nomination convention this afternoon when Bennett did not even make it to the final ballot, eliminating his chance to run as a Republican for reelection. Under state law, Bennett is also barred from running as an independent.

    The two candidates on the final ballot, Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee, will now face off in a primary next month. Club for Growth PAC believes both candidates are strong supporters of pro-growth and limited government policies, and therefore will not take a position in the primary. We are grateful that both of them ran and gave Utah Republicans a real alternative to Sen. Bennett.

    The Club’s PAC was the only organization to launch a campaign to defeat Bennett in the primary. Club for Growth spent over $180,000 in Independent Expenditures in an effective campaign that drove voters to caucuses in record numbers and educated voters and convention delegates about Bennett’s record.

    Bennett had sponsored a health care bill every bit as bad as ObamaCare, voted for billions in wasteful spending, including the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, and played a key role in killing legislation that could have reformed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises that helped create the financial crisis. As Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn told the Politico newspaper, “If you look at his record on spending, it’s not good.”

    This is a huge victory for all Club members and a stern warning to all Republicans to do a better job on spending. Bennett paid the political price for his reckless spending.

    Utahns and all Americans will greatly benefit from the new Republican senator who we are confident will be sworn in next year.

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