It’s either the smartest or the laziest campaign strategy yet. Senator Orrin Hatch’s Democratic opponent is trying to get votes on the argument that if elected again, the incumbent Hatch won’t live through his next term.
No, it’s not a threat. Democratic candidate Scott Howell just doesn’t think that Orrin Hatch’s health will carry him through a seventh term as a Senator for Utah. Howell put out a fundraising letter obtained by ABC4 in which he says “Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy,” alleging that Hatch could “die before his term is through.”
Over the phone, Howell doubled down on his age-related criticism of the 78-year-old Hatch. “Orrin Hatch is old enough to be my father and I don’t want my father running the United States Senate Finance Committee,” continuing, “Orrin Hatch needs the golden handshake now. It’s time we give him a nice watch and we send him on his way.”
Hatch’s campaign manager Dave Hansen called the letter “offensive,” calling it a bid for quick and cheap attention. “He’s [Howell] got a campaign that’s going nowhere. Nobody knows who he is,” Hansen said.
We don’t have an opinion on Howell’s alleged ageism, but we are curious to learn his opinions (read: retirement advice) regarding Vice President Joe Biden (age: 69), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (age: 72), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (age: 72), Representative Charles Rangel (age: 82), and Representative Barney Frank (age: 72).
I guess most of them are a bit young by Howell’s logic. Of course, there’s always Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein, Daniel Akaka, and Frank Lautenberg (79, 88, and 88, respectively).
Hatch has said that if re-elected, his next (and seventh) term will be his last, reports CNN. The US Constitution doesn’t set an age of retirement for Senate members, just that they be a minimum of 30 years of age.