Friday, October 23, 2009
Tim Bridgewater Officially Enters The Republican Race To Replace Incumbent Utah Senator Bob Bennett
After flirting with the idea for months, Tim Bridgewater finally dove into the deep end on October 22nd, 2009 and formally declared his candidacy for the United States Senate. He joins three other declared Republicans, Mark Shurtleff, Cherilyn Eagar, and James Williams in seeking to replace incumbent Utah Republican U.S. Senator Bob Bennett (Sam Granato is the sole Democrat in the race). Media stories published by the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News, the Provo Daily Herald, and KSL Channel 5.
Bridgewater, a millionaire entrepreneur with considerable grass-roots political experience, made the announcement from a mobile home subdivision in West Jordan to symbolize his own roots. His primary reason for challenging Bennett is because he thinks 18 years in the Senate is long enough, and Bennett's worldview may have become distorted with the passage of time. Bridgewater also explained that "Washington, D.C., is a train wreck. They seem to have lost all sense of reason, growing government programs with reckless abandon, spending this country into oblivion and strapping future generations with crippling debt.". You can read Bridgewater's press release HERE, and a transcript of his speech HERE. His official campaign website (he also has a Facebook page HERE):
Tim Bridgewater bills himself as a conservative who is a strong proponent of entrepreneurial capitalism. A considerable amount of his speech was devoted to health care. Since he considers our health care to still be the best in the world, and claims it works well for 80 percent of Americans, he prescribes reform rather than revolution a la Obamacare®. He proposes four specific reforms:
-- Number 1. Allow competition across state lines for insurance providers, so that the most competitive programs can win in the marketplace.
-- Number 2. Curtail frivolous lawsuits by capping non-economic damages and requiring accusers in frivolous lawsuits to pay all legal costs.
-- Number 3. Utilize technology to streamline the delivery and coordination of medical services in order to cut costs.
-- Number 4. Use tax incentives to bolster health savings accounts and thus reward healthy lifestyles and responsible decision making for all citizens.
Of course, it's worth noting that millionaires rarely have to worry about getting adequate health care, so his assumption that our current system works well for 80 percent of Americans may be optimistic. But his ideas about technology, health savings accounts, and, in particular, TORT REFORM, are steps in the right direction.
Despite being such a late entrant into the race, Bridgewater believes he can compete. From traveling the state, he believes he's the type of candidate people can get behind and support. He appears to be midway on the Republican spectrum between Bob Bennett and Cherilyn Eagar. He is prepared to spend $100,000 or more, and intends to self-finance at least half of that.
Bridgewater previously ran for the U.S. House in 2002. He won 57 percent of delegate votes at the state GOP convention, but lost a close GOP primary to John Swallow, who in turn lost the general election to Rep. Jim Matheson. He lost another primary race to Swallow in 2004. You can read Bridgewater's responses to a 2004 political questionnaire HERE. Earlier in 2009, he launched a campaign to become state Republican Party chairman, but it quickly foundered, primarily because he started thinking about a Senate campaign. Yet it took him several months to formally commit to a Senate campaign.
Can Utah afford to replace Bob Bennett with someone so indecisive?