Utah voters weigh in on senate candidates


For some, seeing the differences between Republican candidates is like choosing between shades of gray.

For Jeff Strain, a local precinct chair, this year’s primary election was unique because so many great people were running.

“The candidate pool going into this election is much better than it has been in years past,” Strain said. “I like choosing between the best of the best.”

Strain said he voted for former state senator Dan Liljenquist at the state convention, not because he doesn’t support the Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, but because there were so many good candidates that it was time for a race.

“Hatch has not had a primary for 30 years,” Strain said. “To be in office this long and not be so tainted that you get called home is an achievement.”

Evelyn Call, communications director for the Hatch re-election campaign, said Hatch’s longevity will enable him to make the changes needed to turn the nation around as head of the Senate Finance Committee.

“[Hatch] is the only candidate in this race who is in a position to actually achieve the response this country needs to get back on track,” Call said.

Strain, who has been highly involved in politics for years, said he thinks seniority can make representatives out of touch with their state but Liljenquist’s experience as a state senator will be an asset to serving in the U.S. Senate.

“Liljenquist is energetic,” Strain said. “He has been good at consensus building within his own party and he prioritizes well.”

Holly Richardson, manager of the Liljenquist campaign, said his record as a State Senator speaks for itself.

“It’s time to trade out for someone with fresh ideas and a way to get there; not just talking points,” Richardson said.

Strain said Hatch isn’t as crisp as he once was.

“He is 78-years-old,” Strain said. “He is slowing down.”

But as for the primary election, Strain says he hasn’t made up his mind yet.

“I’m still considering both options. A lot depends on the time frame that I think we need to have the best candidate there,” Strain said. “If it’s the next two years, I’ll vote for Hatch. If it’s the next four years, I don’t know which one I’ll vote for. If it’s the next six years, then I’ll probably vote for Liljenquist.”

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