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  Politics and Elections
   Election 2012 - Utah Senate Race
Monday, June 25, 2012

Four primaries on tap tomorrow - Colorado, New York,
Oklahoma and Utah - updated
Three more primaries, in Colorado, Oklahoma and Utah, are scheduled for tomorrow, including the nation's last presidential primary in Utah.  I am working to update the state pages and races to reflect the primaries of June 12 so bear with me.  I hope to have them posted this evening so that I'll be ready to update CO, OK and UT.

The most interesting race in the lineup (though not exciting) is probably the GOP Senate nomination contest in Utah between Senate Orrin Hatch and former State Senator Dan Liljenquist.  Two years ago, the Tea Party successfully blocked then-Senator Bob Bennett's re-nomination bid and watched Mike Lee waltz to a victory for the GOP in the general election.  This year, an attempt to unseat Hatch doesn't appear headed for the same outcome, however, as the incumbent enjoys a substantial lead in the polls.

Update:  I failed to mention that New York is also holding its primary on Tuesday.  Sorry for the omission.

Filed under:  Colorado 2012  Oklahoma 2012  Utah 2012  UT President 2012  UT Senate 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:11pm 06/25/12::
Friday, December 30, 2011
Utah 2012 Preview
The 3rd most conservative state, as measured by voting percentages in the 2008 presidential election, is our next stop on EP's "Tour of the 50 states." Welcome to the Rocky Mountain state of Utah.

Reapportionment and Redistricting:  Utah lost to North Carolina an additional seat after the 2000 census by just a few thousand people.  This time, the state has grown enough to earn that extra seat from 2010's census.  As one of the most conservative states in the nation, Utah's authority to redraw district lines lies with Republicans.  The current House delegation includes Jim Matheson, a Democrat the GOP would like to retire.  Their new map puts Matheson in a precarious position while creating a new strong Republican district at the same time.  It's a pretty good outcome here for the red team.

President:  Yawn.  President Obama got barely a third of the vote here in 2008 - and that was in a great year for Democrats.  In this Solid GOP Hold, he'll be hard-pressed to get that much of the vote in 2012.  (Oh, and if Romney is the GOP nominee, Utah might look like the flip-side of Washington, DC.)

Senate:  In 2010, the Tea Party movement saw to the political demise of less-than-acceptably-conservative three-term Senator Bob Bennett in the GOP primary.  The winner of that primary, Mike Lee, went on to easily win Bennett's seat in the Senate.  He'll be up for re-election in 2016.

This year, Orrin Hatch, another long-time Republican senator, is up for a seventh term.  Utah's unique system of local caucuses prior to the primaries should elicit some concern that he'll meet the same fate experienced by Bennett two years ago.  But, while Hatch may struggle to get the nomination, the party of the eventual general election winner is a safe bet.  It'll be a Solid GOP Hold.

Governor:  Gary Herbert, Utah's partial-term Republican governor, won a special election in 2010.  He first took the office in August, 2009 after then-governor and now-presidential candidate Jon Huntsman resigned.  His race for a first full-term should be an uneventful Solid GOP Hold.

House:  The new District 4 in Utah consists of much of Democrat Jim Matheson's current District 2.  With the new boundaries, Matheson is listed as the incumbent in District 4 and the new District 2 is effectively the new Utah district.  The latter is now strongly Republican and should easily be an easy GOP pick-up.  And though by no means as easy, Matheson's seat starts off the cycle as the Weak GOP Gain Republicans have long sought.

You can track these races and more throughout the election season at the Utah state page.

Next stop:  Vermont

Filed under:  Utah 2012  UT President 2012  UT Senate 2012  UT Governor 2012  UT House 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 9:28pm 12/30/11::
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Tea Party making waves for 2012
Last year's elections saw mostly positive results from the growth of the Tea Party movement.  Next year, it looks like they'll be aiming for an encore.  Three Republican senators are early targets. After the demise of Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and Bob Bennett in Utah at the hands of Tea Party-backed candidates, GOP incumbents who find themselves on the target list have reason to sweat.  Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) must face the groundswell of conservative opposition to their centrist governance.

I applaud the resurgence of conservative ideals making its way once again across the country.  I'm especially happy to see it rising against Hatch and Lugar since keeping those seats in GOP hands should be only mildly challenging without the incumbent on the ballot.  The prospects of winning in Maine without Snowe on the ballot seem much less likely.  The question raised by these challenges to more moderate Republicans is whether it is better in the long run to have Republicans in blue-tinted states while sacrificing the purity of the ideology or liberal Democrats with our ideology in tact.  I'm still trying to figure out the right answer to that question.  In the meantime, the Tea Party marches on, showing full well that it will be a force to be reckoned with once again in 2012.

Filed under:  2012 Elections  Tea Party  Senate '12  UT Senate 2012  ME Senate 2012  IN Senate 2012 

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:12pm 02/17/11::

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