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UT-Sen: A Primary Challenge for Bennett?

by: James L.

Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 4:03 PM EST


This may be what Charlie Cook had in mind last month:

David Leavitt, the former Juab County attorney best known for his successful prosecution of polygamist Tom Green, has been telling folks at the various Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinners this month that he plans to run for the Senate next year. That is a direct challenge to the incumbent Bennett, who will be seeking his fourth term.

David Leavitt, the brother of former Utah Gov. and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, ran for Congress last year, but was defeated at the State Republican Convention by then-incumbent Chris Cannon and eventual winner Jason Chaffetz. Earlier, David Leavitt was defeated in his bid for re-election as Juab County attorney.

Other Republicans mentioned as possible challengers to Bennett include Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Mike Lee, former counsel to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

(Hat-tip: The Hill)

James L. :: UT-Sen: A Primary Challenge for Bennett?
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Decided at a Convention?
IIRC in Utah you have to qualify for the Primary at a convention. You have to get something like 40% (I think) of the convention vote in order to qualify for the Primary.  

"Where free Unions and collective bargaining is forbidden, freedom is lost." - Ronald Reagan

Here is a link (PDF)
http://www.utgop.org/UtahGOP/u...

J. A candidate for an office that receives 60% or more of the votes cast at any point in the balloting
process at the state nominating conventions shall become the Party's candidate without the
necessity of running in the primary election


"Where free Unions and collective bargaining is forbidden, freedom is lost." - Ronald Reagan

[ Parent ]
Disappointing If True
We're in much better shape to take advantage of a Republican civil war and batshit crazy far right insurgency in almost every other race that plausibly fits Cook's description (Isaakson, Grassley, McCain, Burr).  Sorry to be pessimistic, but I do not see us winning a Utah Senate race in 2010, even against a weak Republican.  Given that, I'd rather have Bennett who is about as good as we could hope for from Utah.

Yep.
The probable effect is that Bennett moves even further right to fend off the competition.

[ Parent ]
How is Bennett "good" for us?
I am asking sincerely.  From your comments it appears as though he's thrown us a few scraps - I am curious what those would be.

[ Parent ]
Maybe the idea was "not as bad as complete batshittery"
Now I just can't figure out how Bachmann survives in an R+6 district.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
blah blah blah morans
blah blah blah Bachmann blah blah blah Simmons? blah blah blah Burris? blah blah blah.

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
I think the fact
she never won over 50% of the vote in either of her elections might be a clue.

Liberty Avenue Politics - a place for politics in Southern Queens

[ Parent ]
It's All Relative
Utah is one of, if not the, most conservative Republican states in the nation.  Thus, you'd expect it to elect the most conservative Republican senators.  But, best that I can tell and relative to all Republican senators, Bennett is not particularly conservative.  By Progressive Punch score, 25 of the other 40 Republican senators are less progressive than Bennett.  By ACU most recent ratings (after 2007), 28 of the 47 other Republican senators are more conservative.  I don't know what particular votes Bennett has sided with us on over the years, however, just looking at 2009, Bennett broke with the majority of Republicans and voted with us on the Lands Management Act and the Holder confirmation.  http://www.fivethirtyeight.com...  And, just going by memory, I don't recall anything that Bennett ever said or did that made me "think what an a@@hole!" (which probably puts him in the minority of current R senators).  Not saying Bennett is good in an absolute sense; just saying he's about as good as we can hope to get out of Utah.

[ Parent ]
That could be a legitimate challenge
The name Leavitt carries a lot of weight in Utah.  My money would be on Bennett but it would be a hard fought primary.

So does the name Bennett
Wallace Bennett (Bob Bennett's father) was a four-term Senator.

26, white male, TX-24, liberal-leaning independent

[ Parent ]
Old school versus new school
Utah is the polar opposite of most states.  Rather than being more liberal the younger people are nuttier than their parents.  Bennet would have the support of the older establishment repubs while a challenger on his right would probably get the younger voters.

[ Parent ]
As to UT's younger people being nuttier as opposed to more liberal than their parents, I would also say it depends...
... on where in the state one resides.

[ Parent ]
It does
I'm talking on the whole though.  Salt Lake City is the one place in the state that's a bit diverse and the younger people there are left-leaning.  The rest of the state is a different story.

[ Parent ]
Is there a split between
suburban "comfort" conservatives and more rural and possibly populist conservatives?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
SLC
Would actually be a great place to live. Its beautiful as hell and the people have much in common with myself culturally (as in...Im secular). Nothing wrong with associating with religious people (my family is religious, afterall) but Im just saying its better to make friends with those you have more in common with culturally. Im sure conservative Mormons feel the same way. Maybe SLC doesnt have decent liquor laws (due to state laws rather than local), Im not sure, but given that I dont drink much then it doesnt matter much to me. I think SLC could see a situation, if they havent already really, where many of the culturally secular folks in other parts of UT just simply move there. And thus make those other parts of UT even that much more conservative.  

[ Parent ]
Young Mormons
I have a Mormon friend (well, more of a co-worker), who goes to school in Idaho but sometimes works here in the summer and winter, who is pretty conservative culturally. Not sure about poliically as people can surprise you (case in point: a culturally conservative, evangelical family member of mine proudly supported Obama) but shes definitely culturally conservative.

And, many young, born again christians in my area (and there are MANY, and nothing wrong with that of course) are more conservative than their parents. If their parents arent particularly religious. Sure, many of them are probably economically moderate or liberal and liberal on the environment but theyre extremely pro-life and very conservative on foreign policy, national security and gay marriage. Thats what I sense, anyway.


[ Parent ]
So,...
Are there any Democrats in Utah?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

Congressman Matheson
And he'd even lose statewide to a Bill Sali type of repub.  He knows better than to try statewide.

[ Parent ]
I'm Curious what they'll do with the redistricting
Utah is almost certain to gain a seat.  They could try to draw some new convoluted districts to try to unseat Matheson, or they might just give up and give him all of SLC.  I'm actually guessing for the latter.

28, Unenrolled, MA-08

[ Parent ]
They'll leave him be
It's next to impossible for them to unseat Matheson.  His district can't get much more conservative.  They'll want a new solidly republican 4th district, so my guess is they leave Matheson's seat alone.  They might even make it more favorable for him in order to shore up the other 3 districts.

[ Parent ]
Exactly how could they draw new convoluted districts anyway?
SLC has to be represented by someone, in whole or in part.  What, give each district one quarter of SLC?  (Would that even work, or would you have to gerrymander the daylights out of other major cities like Provo and Ogden just do do it?)

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Not as hard as you might think
Right now around 38% of Utah's population is in Salt Lake County, with 18% in Utah County (Provo), 11% in Davis County (north SLC suburbs), and 8% in Weber County (Ogden.)  So roughly three-quarters of the people in Utah live in just four counties.  I suppose if they really wanted to, they could put three districts in the Wasatch Front and have the fourth district consist of everything else in the state.

26, white male, TX-24, liberal-leaning independent

[ Parent ]
Exactly as you suggest
Currently, all three Utah districts have part of SLC.  IIRC, it was done this way on purpose to try to get rid of Matheson, but he held on anyway.  I'm sure they could split SLC even further if they really wanted to.

[ Parent ]
Probably give up
Republicans will probably leave Matheson be, and maybe give him the more Democratic parts of SLC as well as Summit County (Park City, went 57% for Obama.)  That will allow them to draw a safe Republican seat based in the SLC suburbs, but, whatever.

26, white male, TX-24, liberal-leaning independent

[ Parent ]
Didn't Obama win some county in eastern Utah as well?
Grand County or something over there?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
Yep.
Obama actually won three counties in Utah--Salt Lake, Summitt, and Grand.  Salt Lake was 176,988 for Obama, 176,692 for McCain.

http://scoreboard.dailykos.com...


[ Parent ]
Why didn't SL County go blue by more?
Does it include a ton of very conservative suburbs?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]
In a word, yes
There are close to a million people in Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City's population is only 180,000.

To the best of my knowledge, the very conservative suburbs are toward the southern part of the county.  West Valley City, which has around 120,000 people, is more working-class and thus less Republican.

26, white male, TX-24, liberal-leaning independent


[ Parent ]
Yes it does
I have family in the SLC cuburbs and have been there many times.  The actually city of Salt Lake is pretty liberal and somewhat diverse, but the suburbs are all large ultra-conservative Mormon families.

[ Parent ]
Matheson
Maybe Matheson would win a Gov. race but I doubt hed stand a chance in hell of winning a Senate one.

[ Parent ]
Is this the only Democratic-leaning blog that
has so many comments to topics about Utah and Wyoming?

This is awesome. :D

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


More importantly
The comments are thought out and not "YEARGH! IT UTAH AND USELESS! GRR!" Follows by some "analysis" of how the Democrats elected there would not be wanted in the caucus anyways.

Hooray for trend lines and actually figuring out how this tuff works.

26, Male, Democrat, TX-26


[ Parent ]
Yeesh, another Leavitt?
So that makes this guy something like my fifth cousin once removed. The Leavitts were in Illinois around the time of the Civil War. The sane ones went on to Nebraska (and then Oregon). The crazy ones went to Utah.

Are the Nebraskan/Oregonian ones
anywhere near D-leaning?

party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

[ Parent ]

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