Facing significant anger aimed at Washington and at some of his past votes, Utah Sen. Robert Bennett was eliminated Saturday from seeking re-election as a Republican, becoming the first incumbent to fall victim to the growing anti-Washington mood ahead of the 2010 midterm elections.
Bennett came in third in a second round of balloting at the state party convention behind more conservative candidates Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee. In a final round of voting, neither Lee nor Bridgewater won 60 percent of the vote needed to win the nomination. They will now face each other in a primary election June 22…
Bennett’s elimination from the ballot likely will send shock waves throughout the political community with more incumbents worried they will also become the victims of the anti-Washington, anti-incumbency fervor that is being fueled at least in part by the Tea Party movement…
David Kirkham, a Tea Party activist, told CNN in an interview…he was so upset about the bailout issue that he was motivated to form the Utah Tea Party chapter last year.
“That one vote was pretty toxic,” he said. “That one vote affected a lot of things, changed the rules of the game. President Bush said that where we have to abandon free market principles to save the free market and fundamentally, we just don’t agree. There’s just no way.”
I love it. The Republican hierarchy has embraced the single issue nutballs for so long it’s coming back to bite them on the butt.
Here’s a right-winger who’s marched in lockstep with all the appropriate bed-wetters. Anti-abortion, ready to invade any nation hiding terrorists underneath his bed, anti-union, anti-immigrant [legal or otherwise], he fits the mold of conservative Utah pols across the board. But, that wasn’t specific enough for teabaggers dedicated to 18th Century economics.
I doubt Utah can muster enough moderate voices and votes to replace Bennett with someone, say, modern enough to have left behind the Cold War and Herbert Hoover; but, there will be other states where Republican reliance on the lunatic fringe will put them at an equivalent disadvantage.
Presuming Dems in the neighborhood with backbone and smarts. That may be a stretch.