Bob Bennett Re-nomination for Utah Senate Seat in Trouble

First it was Dede Scozzafava; then Florida Governor, Charlie Crist; now it is Utah's Bob Bennett. Grassroots GOP activists are on a roll in helping to upgrade senate and congressional candidates.

Utah's nominating system holds a convention where the delegates decide the GOP nominees for office. A recent poll of GOP state delegates was conducted regarding their preferences for US Senate candidates. The survey showed the current US Senator, Bob Bennett, is in big trouble, garnering only 15 percent of the delegates' votes.

This dumbfounds some GOP strategists. Chuck Warren, whose firm conducted the poll, said, "Frankly, there's no reason for the guy to be in trouble." Other, more ‘moderate,' Republicans in the state are claiming that the party is being high jacked by extreme right-wingers.

What these pundits fail to realize is that voters are more informed and are paying more attention than ever to what their elected officials are doing, and in the case of Bob Bennett, his true colors are being revealed.

Instead of finding conservative leadership, Utah GOP delegates are realizing that Bennett is a very experienced DC dealmaker.

For example, in his (4/26) email to state delegates, Bob Bennett highlighted his work to take Obama to task for canceling NASA's constellation program. Unwittingly, Bennett's email highlights some of the exact reasons that Utah voters are on the verge of term-limiting the state's junior senator.

From the email to the state delegates:

Obama's proposal to cancel NASA's Constellation program and the Ares I rocket booster will not only devastate the economy of northern Utah; it will also weaken our missile defense and our national security.

That's right, keeping jobs in Utah is more important on the Senator's priority list than that little thing we call "national security." 

This is the type of deal-making mentality that got Republicans in trouble during the Bush Administration is the reason why many in Utah are anxious to send Mr. Bennett to a well deserved retirement. Conventional wisdom is now that Bennett will be out in the second or third rounds of voting, meaning Utah will have a new GOP nomination for US Senate.

National GOP leadership would do well to take a close look at what is happening in Utah. As Senator Bennett is finding out the hard way, creative billboards and re-branding attempts are a RINO luxury of the past.

Bennett's demise could also spell major trouble ahead for Sen. Hatch who has been in office for 34 years now, although Hatch has a better record, but has become less and less responsive to the locals.

Lyall Swim is the host of The Conservative Professor Show and a partner of Junto Communications.
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