Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) Loses Re-Election Bid At State Convention

The tea party defeated conservative Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) at today's Utah Republican Party state convention. Bennett is the first Senator to lose in a primary this year. Chris Cilizza has the facts:

Utah Sen. Bob Bennett lost his bid to be nominated for a fourth term Saturday, defeated at the state Republican Party convention by a strong conservative sentiment that threatens to unseat other establishment-backed GOPers in the months to come. Bennett... came under fire in recent months for what some claimed were his insufficient conservative bona fides.

As evidence his detractors cited his vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) as well as his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee -- both symbols, conservatives said, of his lack of commitment to shrinking the size of government...

Under convention rules, all eight candidates appeared on the first ballot. The top three -- attorney Mike Lee, former Congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater and Bennett (in that order) advanced to the second round of balloting. Bennett was defeated there as Lee, a former counsel to popular former Gov. Jon Huntsman, and Bridgewater who had lost two races against Rep. Jim Matheson (D), advanced to the final ballot.

Catch that? It's not that Utahans didn't like Senator Bennett - they just feel that Republicans shouldn't be allowed to serve on the Appropriations Committee. Wow.

The tea partiers say that Bennett isn't conservative enough, a rather shocking claim when you look at his various scores and ratings. The National Right to Life Center gives him a 100; the ACLU gives him a 0. The American Conservatives Union gives him an 84 and the Family Research Council an 88; the AFL-CIO gives him a 9 and the AFSCME a 0. Oh, what's that you say? Tea partiers are fiscal, not social, conservatives? Okay, then how 'bout that 100 score from the US Chamber of Commerce, or the 90 from Americans for Tax Reform?

These numbers lend credibility to Bennett’s position that his crime was not being too "liberal" but rather not being outspoken enough in his opposition to those different than him. The Salt Lake Tribune:

He's a man more comfortable working behind the scenes, securing money for Utah projects, smoothing out bureaucratic problems, whispering in the ear of the Republican leader.

Now engaged in a fierce battle to keep his job, Bennett, 76, is hearing from incensed Republican delegates that they want a fighter. They want someone to publicly and loudly combat what they see as the excesses of the Obama agenda.

"So I do my best to give them anger and passion when I'm talking to them one on one," Bennett says. "I don't necessarily toot my horn in the way I think most politicians do and I apparently have paid the price for it. I'm trying to repent."

Because the tea parties want you to know that America isn't about democracy or tolerance, it's about tyranny with them in charge. There is no room for debate.

Tags: UT-Sen, 2010 midterms, Bob Bennett, Tea Parties (all tags)



Can he run as an independent?


by Vox Populi 2010-05-08 06:34PM | 0 recs
RE: Can he run as an independent?

From The AP:

Bennett didn't answer questions after his loss but earlier Saturday told The Associated Press he wouldn't rule out a write-in candidacy. State law prohibits him from running as an independent.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-05-08 07:51PM | 0 recs
RE: Can he run as an independent?

But he can run as a write-in candidate, according to commenters at Swing State Project.

by desmoinesdem 2010-05-08 09:58PM | 0 recs
Niether party's voters like to be taken for granted

Seems to me, he lost touch with the grass roots and started to treat his Senate seat like it was a birthright (i.e., Lieberman), not to mention going back on his term limits pledge.  Lesson learned --- ignore grass roots party activists at your own peril.  I wonder how much contact he had with the 3500 or so delegates prior to the last few weeks.  He thought he could win by staying in Washington, having a big bank account, and ignoring the inconvenience of having to actually meet his constituents.  Chalk up another loss for arrogance - Blanche Lincoln, are you listening?

by alamedadem 2010-05-08 06:56PM | 1 recs
RE: Niether party's voters like to be taken for granted

He may have upset the 3500 party insiders, but polls showed he was the favorite of rank and file voters.

by Vox Populi 2010-05-08 07:02PM | 1 recs
A bet

I bet the bailout vote had more to do with it than the feeding trough at appropriations.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-05-08 08:57PM | 0 recs
RE: A bet

Of course. A minor bizareness, but a bizareness nonetheless.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-05-08 11:23PM | 0 recs

Bennett pledged to support the GOP nominee.  Ideology played a small role.  It's really about the approach to the issues.

I do think the bailouts are at the root of anyone who's in trouble right now.  Having said that what do you think of bailouts for Greece and possibly Spain?

Is there a different standard?


by esconded 2010-05-08 10:09PM | 0 recs
Sen. Robert Bennett on Natural Born Citizenship 8/4/09

That is myself debating Sen. Robert Bennet

by yehaaaaaaaaaaaa 2010-05-09 01:21AM | 0 recs
RE: Sen. Robert Bennett on Natural Born Citizenship 8/4/09

Many Constitutional scholars are convinced that the framers got the phrase from Emerich de Vattell's "The Law of Nations". The definition he gives is "those born in the country, of parents [plural] who are citizens".

Many. But not most. And if that indeed is your definition, tell me, were you railing against McCain, born outside the country?

by Nathan Empsall 2010-05-09 07:01PM | 0 recs
RE: Sen. Robert Bennett on Natural Born Citizenship 8/4/09

Yes, I was "railing against McCain, born outside the country," and considered them both ineligible.  I believe the true motive of Senator Obama sponsoring Senate Resolution 511 in 2008 was to direct attention away from his own ineligibility.  How could the Republicans bring up the issue of Obama's ineligibility, when their own candidate had the same problem?

Even more astonishing was the first comments from Senator Bennet to me.  These made it clear that he did not understand the difference between Birth Certificate Issue and Natural Born Citizen. To him, it meant the same thing.  These two topics are separate distinct issues. 

Ken's blog entry (see url source below) explains Vattell's writing:

The term "natural born citizen" is not one that is owned by the U.S. It existed even before the Constitution was accepted and could be found in the book, The Law of Nations, by Vattel, 1758, Chapter 19, Section 212; "natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens".

However, in a 2008 Resolution sponsored by then Senator, Mr. Obama, concerning the eligibility of Senator McCain, who was either born on a military vessel in Panamian waters, or at the Colon Hospital in Panama (Resolution 511) it was determined that Senator McCain was eligible to be POTUS because he was born to two parents, who were both U.S. citizens. I believe this is the most recent confrmation that being a natural born citizen requires parents who are both U.S. citizens at the time of the birth of the individual.


by yehaaaaaaaaaaaa 2010-05-09 11:04PM | 0 recs
RE: Sen. Robert Bennett on Natural Born Citizenship 8/4/09

Well at least you're consistent.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-05-10 12:03AM | 0 recs
I'm a Utahn and political junkie . . .

Bennett's been working the delegates for weeks.  Rumors are that he personally phoned hundreds of delegates.  The problem is a simple one: Utah's Republican insiders are far more conservative than Utahns in general, but most Utahns would vote for Satan if he ran as Republican.  Bennett has been a reliable Republican vote and chances are good we're going to end up with a male Sarah Palin in the Senate from Utah.

At the same time, literally in the same building, the Democratic convention forced Jim Matheson into a primary.  Matheson isn't a reliable Democratic vote and he's genuinely angered a great many of the party insiders as well as Democratic rank and file.  

by glendenb 2010-05-09 08:55AM | 0 recs


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