Sunday, May 9, 2010
You're Next, Orrin: Cherilyn Eagar Has Not Yet Endorsed Either Tim Bridgewater Or Mike Lee, May Run Against Six-Term Senator Orrin Hatch In 2012
After a tough but unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate, Cherilyn Eagar is taking a well-deserved rest on Mother's Day. And if her husband's smart, he's waiting on her hand and foot today.
The only media outlet to report on Cherilyn Eagar's reaction to the elimination of both incumbent Bob Bennett and herself from the U.S. Senate race at the Utah State Republican Convention on May 8th is the Provo Daily Herald. According to the Herald, Cherilyn Eagar has yet to endorse either of the two survivors, Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee, who will square off in the Republican primary on June 22nd. She said she hasn't had the time to think about whether she'll endorse either Lee or Bridgewater. Because Bridgewater, like Eagar, is an enterpreneur and Bridgewater, like Eagar, received an endorsement from a national immigration lobby, I suggest that Eagar might be more likely to endorse Bridgewater than Lee. Since Bridgewater outpointed Lee 57-43 percent in the third round of delegate voting at the convention, Bridgewater must now be considered the favorite to win the primary.
But what Cherilyn Eagar also said is that she's quite interested in mounting a challenge to Orrin Hatch in 2012 should he decide to run for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate, shattering Reed Smoot's record. Ironically, when Hatch ran for the first time against Frank Moss in 1976, Hatch criticized Moss's 18-year tenure in the Senate, saying that many Senators, including Moss, had lost touch with their constituents. Since Hatch has now served nearly 34 years, he is particularly vulnerable to being hoisted upon that same petard himself. Bear in mind that if Eagar decides to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012, she won't be alone; Congressman Jason Chaffetz may decide to run, as could the loser of the Bridgewater-Lee primary race.
Update: Since I first published this post, the Deseret News now reports that Orrin Hatch is absolutely unfazed by Bob Bennett's loss and intends to run for re-election in 2012. Hatch seems to characterize Bennett's loss as a fluke because he stood for election at a time when dissatisfaction with Washington is at a peak. Hatch says he has not been targeted with as much hostility as Bennett. Hatch has got two years -- to either change his mind, or make himself more electable.
Even so, I still think Orrin Hatch would be smart to decide right now that this current term will be his last term, and walk out as an honored elder statesman. Thirty-six years will be more than enough; it's time to turn the seat over to the next generation.