In 1976, a little-known lawyer named Orrin Hatch won the Republican nomination to challenge Utah’s two-term Democratic senator, Frank Moss. That November, Hatch’s nine-point triumph over Moss was considered “the Cinderella campaign of the season,” according to the Deseret News.
Thirty-six years later, Dan Liljenquist is hoping to follow Hatch’s example — in a primary run against the six-term incumbent.
Hatch secured 59.2 percent of the vote at the Utah GOP’s state convention on April 21, only 32 votes shy of the 60 percent required to avoid a primary. Liljenquist, on the other hand, won 40.8 percent of the vote, slightly over the 40 percent threshold to qualify for the ballot. Now, the 37-year-old is making the same argument Hatch used against Moss in his 1976 campaign: He’s been in Washington too long.
(See also related The Economist and Politico stories.)