When I wrote a better to the editor in support of Dan Liljenquist during the GOP primary earlier this year one of the comments that was made in response to my letter was that once Hatch won the primary all the Liljenquist supporters who were so opposed to Hatch would turn around and support Hatch in the general election. I knew then that was not true – some of those supporting Liljenquist were supporting him because they could not support Hatch and follow their conscience at the same time.
Once Hatch won the primary I found myself needing to examine the democratic candidate for Senate to see if I could cast my vote for him. I have been learning what I could about Scott Howell over the last few months and while there were some things that I liked in what I saw I was not certain that I could cast my vote for him.
After looking, listening, and learning what I could I reached out to Scott to ask a few final questions to determine if I could cast my vote for him or whether I would be forced to vote “none of the above.” The goal of my questions was to try getting a picture of his political view independent of party affiliation. To that end, I found my answer in his response to my question of who he would support for Senate Majority Leader. The first words out of his mouth were, “Harry Reid has to go.”
In and of itself that line would not earn my vote (although I completely agree with it) but as we talked, I saw in Scott a man who understands that we need to change the leadership in our government to make the changes that our nation needs. To put it the way Mitt Romney would, we need to fire the management that got us into this mess.
In contrast, I have no doubt that if I asked that question of Orrin Hatch he would look at me as if I had asked if water was wet and then tell me that Mitch McConnell would be his choice for Senate Majority Leader – how could Hatch possibly argue that seniority is critical and argue for new leadership? Hatch has been busy telling Utah that it is our time to lead. That is just a reference to his claims that he will be the next chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Today Nate Silver puts the odds of the GOP retaking the Senate at 13% which means that Hatch has about a 7% chance of chairing the finance committee.
Mr. Howell’s recognition of the need for new leadership coupled with the virtual guaranteed that Senator Hatch will be unable to deliver on the centerpiece of his campaign made this choice easier than I expected it to be. Right now the best choice Utah has for US Senate is Scott Howell. I still think the best candidate we had for the position this year was Dan Liljenquist but we still have an option to upgrade from our current senator with someone who knows that its time for a change.
As for the future, the fact is that I trust the promise Scott made to me that he will serve no more than two terms more than I trust Orrin’s promise that this is absolutely positively his last term (unless he still has a pulse in 2018) and I think the odds of getting a good candidate other than Scott are better with an incumbent Democrat than with an incumbent Republican (that’s true even if Orrin does keep his promise not to run again).
Join me in voting for Scott Howell for Senate because it is Utah’s time to lead and the best way to lead is still to send someone new who has not been a longtime part of the problem.