Having watched his Senate colleague Robert Bennett defeated by a Tea Party insurrection at last year’s Utah Republican Party nominating convention, veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is taking no chances. He’s working the Tea Party network in Utah hard, arguing that he shares their views on fiscal issues (mostly) and stands ready to undo President Obama’s healthcare legislation in the event that the GOP recaptures control of the US Senate in the 2012 elections.
So far, Sen. Hatch’s “furious” campaign to shore up his right flank appears to be paying dividends. Tea Party operatives in the state are impressed. Sen. Hatch’s strongest argument with Utah Tea Partiers is the consequence of his not being re-elected. Politico reports:
Conservatives also have to keep something else in mind if Hatch is ousted — moderate GOP Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe will be Finance Committee chairwoman if Republicans win the Senate majority in 2012.
“When they get into it, they think, ‘We don’t want to lose Sen. Hatch,” Hatch said. “We don’t want to lose him — the Republican leader of the Finance Committee. I think [it’s] starting to dawn on people, ‘Hey, that’s pretty important.’ They’re never going to get a better conservative handling that committee or one who can get along with the other side better than I could. It will dawn on people, and it has.”