If not Chaffetz, then whom?

jason chaffetz
Photo courtesy of Jason Chaffetz

SALT LAKE CITY – The battle between Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Orrin Hatch appears to be over.

Chaffetz addressed fellow Republicans, saying he wants to focus on the job he was already elected to do, rather than focusing on ousting Hatch in the Senate. Soon after that announcement, Hatch posted a Facebook message wishing Chaffetz luck and giving him well wishes.

And so the feud ends.

But before Chaffetz expressed interest in Hatch’s job, two other names had been brought up as a possible candidates for the Senate elections.

Rep. Jim Matheson’s staff told St. George News in July, “he is keeping all his options open but not making any announcements at this time.” That was after a new poll showed that Matheson could narrowly defeat both Hatch and Chaffetz in a Senate election.

And before that, there was a man that few outside of Utah had ever heard of: State Senator Dan Liljenquist. Once Chaffetz made his announcement, many began to look at Liljenquist for answers. The State Senator, however, said Chaffetz’s decision had not and would not influence Liljenquist’s decision on whether or not he would run against Hatch.

“Our decision has never hinged on what Congressman Chaffetz was going to do, although it has made for a couple of interesting days,” Lilenquist told St. George News. “Jason Chaffetz is a friend of mine and I know he will continue to do great work in the House. He has already distinguished himself on the national stage and will continue to do so.  At the end of the day, our decision to get in the race is a family one. My wife Brooke and I will make a final decision later this fall.”

Hatch supporters have good reason for wanting to keep the Senator in office one more term. If reelected, Hatch could become the chairman of the Senate’s Finance Committee – which he describes as the “most powerful committee in the whole Congress.”

But that tactic didn’t work when Senator Bob Bennett tried it, saying a vote against Bennett was a vote against Utah because of his senior position on the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Hatch may have nothing to worry about, however, if no one comes forward to run against him.

jwatkins@stgnews.com
@callmejen27

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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