defining a center in Utah

It is hard to imagine a Democrat winning a statewide seat in Utah, but we always see the Representative Jim Matheson as the perpetual “fill in the blank” to gauge the upper length of Democratic Party strength against a Republican incumbent.  Should Jim Matheson win in his next contest against Mia Love, and then wonder if he would win in a third match – up against Mia Love, I do wonder if he might just throw out that long shot bid, pondering the current polling problems of Mike Lee.

Mike Lee was the man who ultimately deposed Senator Bennett (Human Event had him in the list of 10 RINOs at a time when there were only 40 Senators to choose from to call a “RINO”).  It was in Utah’s undemocratic activist – heavy convention nominating system.  In a straight up primary, Bennett would’ve probably sailed to re-election.  As it were, Mike Lee has subsequently either embarrassed himself or taken a brave stand against the Mighty Establishment by placing himself as Ted Cruz’s right hand man.  Whichever is the case, Mike Lee’s poll numbers have taken a dump, and he’s now the butt of business leaders and Republican Establishment grumbling.

Most amusingly enough…

Former state senator Dan Liljenquist and Josh Romney, one of Mitt’s sons, have also been mentioned as possible challengers, Utah Republicans say. Liljenquist enjoyed tea party backing when he ran unsuccessfully against Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R) in last year’s primary.

Liljenquist criticized Lee’s handling of the shutdown. “I’m struggling to see what was gained from it for Utah,” he said. “An all-or-nothing approach makes people uncomfortable here.”

Dan Liljenquist was the “out of the lurch” figure who took up this charge when some more established figure didn’t.  The two notes I took from his campaign was a clever website that rehashed Orrin Hatch’s initial “against the Establishment” Senate campaign of 1976 (with your typical “my opponent has been there too long and is too old” line).  And, as reported in either Slate or Salon — I don’t remember — an answer to a town hall question that he is in favor of Glass Steagall, but that’s too complicated to get into right there.  That makes for an interesting “Right Meets Left” flash point.  (The act is currently championed by Elizabeth Warren in the Senate.)

The differences here are largely tactical, and quite a bit of it is political positioning — it would look like Dan Liljenquist has few entry point possibilities in a one party state and was looking at the calendar for Orrin Hatch’s term expiring, but sees a chance at Mike Lee.  But this positioning is one of those “huh”s.  Right in the center, I suppose, such as the Center is… to the left of Orrin Hatch, to the right of Mike Lee.

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