The Fall-Out From Utah
People shouldn't think they're getting a job for life once elected. Bennett seems like a very decent man and I don't think he was quite the faux-conservative CFG and others made him out to be. But, given his years in DC, I'm not sure how in touch with voters he was any more, either. He said he'd stay for two terms, he got three. So, it isn't like he got the short end of anything.
Three-term Sen. Bob Bennett became the first victim this year of a wave of voter anger toward Washington in a defeat that will likely send a jolt through incumbents everywhere.
Businessman Tim Bridgewater finished first in the final round of balloting, beating attorney Mike Lee 57 percent to 43 percent, meaning they will face off in a June 22 primary battle.
More surprising and perhaps even troubling to me is how the final vote turned out. Not having followed the race that closely, I expected Mike Lee to emerge on top. That didn't happen. He barely made it into a primary. But that was the goal, I guess. So, I know who lost tonight – the establishment GOP. And that ain't exactly a bad thing.
Yet, given that Bridgewater may be more establishment than Lee himself, I'm still not exactly sure who won here. Given the ability of CFG and others invested in the race to beat back Bennett, yet not deliver a win for Lee at today's convention suggests their clout is real, but not everything it's sometimes thought to be.
There is, however, five weeks to go until the primary. So, it isn't like anything is settled. But coming out of the convention down by 14 with a cash disadvantage, it's fair to say Lee and his supporters do have their work cut out for them. Ironically, in some ways, Bennett and the establishment are now the ones in position to play the spoilers, should they choose to. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, Bennett and some other GOP figures do going forward from here.