Utah’s Republican nominating convention didn’t turn out so well for Senator Bob Bennett. He should have been a shoe-in for the nomination, but things are different these days. People are fed up with Washington, DC, and not just with the statist Democrats. They’re also fed up with Republican senators who voted for bank bailouts and big spending while claiming to be “conservative.”
The Washington Post: Bennett, seeking a fourth term after 18 years in office, became the first sitting senator to fall in the ideological battle being waged in his party. Although he has long been viewed as a reliable conservative with deep Mormon roots, Republicans rallied behind two other candidates — neither of whom has held political office — who will compete for the nomination at a June primary.
National tea party organizers embraced the victory as a major first step toward returning the Republican Party to its conservative foundations of limited government and low taxes. At the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, tea party activists cheered and celebrated after Bennett lost.
Out with the old and in with new is what I say, especially when it comes to the Senate. John McCain has been there far too long, and Bennett had promised to serve only two terms and has already served three. It’s time to give a new generation of Republicans a chance. I’d love to see Senator Jim DeMint emerge as a leader for the GOP. Notable is the response he received from the crowd at the convention, as opposed to Mitt Romney.
Bennett lost in the second of three ballots under Utah’s complicated nominating system. He did so despite an introduction from former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who is enormously popular in Utah. Attendees applauded more vigorously for a video of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), supporting one of Bennett’s rivals, than they did for Romney, who won 89 percent of the vote in Utah’s 2008 presidential primary.
For politics junkies this is going to be an interesting year. But it’s so much more important than that. We have one big heck of a mess on our hands. We need to decide whether we’re looking for people to manage the mess, or people with the will do to something about it.
The Other McCain has a good rundown of the reaction to this news, so does Instapundit. Dan Riehl looks at the fallout and reminds us there will still be a primary between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater.