About five weeks ago or so, Governor Palin endorsed Senator Orrin Hatch in his primary contest with Dan Liljenquist.
I join other conservatives like Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, and Tea Party leaders like Sal Russo in encouraging Utah voters to return Orrin Hatch to the U.S. Senate. Since Mark Levin has always got a way with words, read what he recently told Senator Hatch: “I feel that you would be… a terrific elder statesman to a lot of these other young guys who I’m going to be pushing in these other states.” I’m with Mark. That’s spot on.
We need Orrin’s conservative Reagan-like leadership – and our new crop of conservative senators Richard Mourdock, Deb Fischer, and Ted Cruz might need some friendly advice finding their way around the Senate.
Since that time, Liljenquist has tried a variety of theatrics, including debating himself, in an effort to gain traction. Liljenquist’s main approach has been to try and co-opt Tea Party energy by painting himself as a "grass roots" conservative arrayed against Orrin Hatch who, according to Liljenquist, is an out-of-touch elitist RINO, or whatever. The problem for Liljenquist, or course, is that neither of these characterizations is true. Indeed as Stacy and I indicated a month ago, Liljenquist’s TEA Party cred is, at best, highly suspect:
Dan Liljenquist’s campaign has stated that he would never label himself a "Tea Party" candidate, and now we see why.
Update by Doug: I’m stunned. For a couple of reasons. First, all these alleged Tea Party proponents are supporting a guy who’s already signaled his willingness to compromise with liberals on what’s supposed to be one of the Tea Party’s core principles: Tax increases. Isn’t TEA an acronym for “taxed enough already”. Not that Liljenquist would know since, as Stacy noted above, he doesn’t consider himself a Tea Party candidate anyway. I can certainly see why.
Second, these same folks who are promoting Liljenquist’s Tea Party bonafides are trashing Orrin Hatch as an Establishment RINO, Washington Insider type. And yet here we have their candidate adopting classic insider doublespeak for tax increases. Revenue enhancements? Really? But not to worry, they assure us. If only we blindly throw reliably conservative Orrin Hatch under the bus for their guy, everything will work out fine. I think not.
With the election less than 24 hours away, the latest poll out of Utah indicates that the vast majority of Republican primary voters have reached a similar conclusion:
SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch has a significant lead over his opponent in Tuesday’s GOP primary, former state lawmaker Dan Liljenquist, according to a new Deseret News/KSL-TV poll.
Sixty percent of the registered voters in Utah polled who said they will vote in the Republican primary backed Hatch’s bid for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. Just under one-third of the respondents, 32 percent, said they supported Liljenquist.
The poll, conducted June 15-21 by Dan Jones & Associates, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.
"Those are very good numbers for the senator," Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said. "It’s nice that the voters of Utah, the Republican voters, have that much confidence and support for him."
This is about the same percentage Hatch received at the convention, while Liljenquist has seen his support erode by about 8 points. The poll also gave Hatch an even bigger lead against his general election opponent, Democrat Scott Howell:
The poll found that in a general election race against Hatch, Howell would win 29 percent support to 63 percent for Hatch. Howell would do better against Liljenquist in November, with 34 percent to 48 percent for Liljenquist, according to the poll.
To summarize, it’s a virtual certainty that Senator Hatch will be heading back to DC in January.