The only member of the U.S. Senate to compose a Hanukkah song looks like he will be coming back to Washington for a seventh term. Utah Republican Orrin Hatch easily defeated Tea party favorite challenger Dan Liljenquist and is expected to go on to victory in that very red state in November.
Hatch, 78, mounted a vigorous campaign starting more than two years ago when his then-colleague, Sen. Bob Bennett, was surprised by a Tea Party challenge. He became even more conservative, determined not to be vulnerable from the right. The two biggest charges against Hatch were that he had been in Washington too long and that he had committed the unpardonable sin in the eyes of Tea Partiers – bipartisanship. He has been willing to work with colleagues across the aisle and across the political spectrum, most notably with his good friend the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)..
If he wins and Republicans take control of the Senate in November he will become president pro tempore as the senior member of the majority party and, at the end of that seventh term will become the longest serving senator in American history.
The charge of being in Washington too long may have failed in Utah but it worked in Oklahoma, where five-term Republican Congressman John Sullivan was defeated by political newcomer Jim Bridenstine, who had tea party backing.