For Scott Howell, maybe the third time will be the charm.
The veteran Democrat tells UtahPolicy.com he's weighing another run for U.S. Senate against Orrin Hatch. Howell previously lost to hatch in 2000 and 2012. There's a Moby Dick/white whale comparison in there somewhere.
Hatch defeated Howell by 34 points in 2000 and 35 points in 2012.
"I'm sitting back and watching what Orrin is going to do," says Howell. "I don't want to make him go back on his vow that I would be the last person he would ever debate in the state of Utah."
Howell is semi-jokingly referring to Hatch's promise that the 2012 election would be his last run for office. It looks like for all intents and purposes that Hatch is preparing to run for an 8th term next year.
So what would Howell do differently this time around if he runs against Hatch again?
"I would have a better understanding of the kind of campaign we would have to run to try and be successful," he says. "I want new thought leadership in the Congress."
Howell also spies an opportunity for success this time around because he thinks Utah voters are growing weary of having Hatch in office.
"I think there's a definite fatigue factor after 40+ years," he said. "We're not electing a general authority, but we are electing a public servant. I want to give kudos to Hatch for the good job he's done, but now is the time to enjoy his family."
Hatch's supporters point to his experience and clout as a reason he should stay in the Senate. Not surprisingly, Howell disagrees.
"The fact that he has all of this perceived power is exactly what's wrong with Congress. They believe they have all of this power, but that does a disservice to their constituents."
Plus, Howell questions what Hatch has actually done with that influence.
"What has he brought to the citizens of Utah? Why didn't he have a new healthcare plan ready? Why doesn't he have a tax reform plan? The quality of his work over the past decade is a debate I would look forward to."
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson is also weighing a run for Hatch's seat in 2018. Howell says he's only interested in facing Hatch next year, acknowledging Wilson would have a better chance against other possible Republican candidates like Evan McMullin or Derek Miller.
"2018 is going to be the year of the woman in my opinion, but if Hatch is the Republican nominee, that changes the dynamic," he said.
Howell says he plans on making a decision about whether to jump into the race by June of this year before the Democratic state convention.
"We have to make sure we have our ducks in a row with financing. Polling plays a big part of it. You also need people who can tell you the truth about your chances."