Utah GOP has made an unprecedented move at their state convention. A sitting Senator has been defeated at a State convention, Therefore; Republican Senator Bob Bennett will not be on the Republican ticket in Utah.
Most are pointing to his votes for TARP as evidence that he is out of touch with conservative values and should not be the standard bearer for the party. Bennett related to reporters that he wouldn’t have changed any of his votes, even if it meant that it would end his career.
The 2010 Election is appears to becoming more about voting out incumbents rather than voting out the Party of the President which is common during a Presidents First term.
What does this mean for the Republican Party in Utah? Since Utah is a very conservative state, the GOP will probably retain the seat.
The Fix: Puts it this way
Bennett, the son of a senator who had spent the last two decades as a respected insider in the chamber, 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.
While state Republicans had expressed uneasiness with Bennett, it was the DC-based Club for Growth that helped crystallize that opposition. The Club spent more than $200,000 on a combination of television ads, direct mail pieces and phone calls designed to influence the 3,500 (or so) delegates who attended today’s state convention.
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.
Bennett’s defeat marks the first time a sitting Senator has lost in an intraparty fight since 2006 when Sen. Joe Lieberman was ousted by wealthy businessman Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary. Lieberman went on to run and win as an independent; under state law Bennett cannot pursue that course.