A bold move for a freshman but, like DeMint, he’s perfectly positioned to make it. He comes from the deepest of deep red states and there’s no room whatsoever to run to his right. He’ll hold his seat for 50 years if he wants to, so any establishment Republicans who are bitter about this will have to content themselves with cold shoulders. They’ll never bounce him in a primary in Utah.
“The purpose of it is to help find and support candidates for federal office who share my view that federal government has become too big and too expensive and believe in the need to restore what I refer to as constitutional-limited government,” Lee told The Hill…
“It would be hypocritical of me if I were to say never, ever under any circumstances would I try to support someone trying to come here the same way I came here,” Lee said.
He added, however, he does not have his mind set on supporting any particular challenger against a particular incumbent right now.
Question: Would he consider supporting Jason Chaffetz’s primary challenge to Orrin Hatch? The idea of an incumbent senator campaigning against his colleague from the same party and the same state is almost unthinkable, but Lee and Chaffetz are both young tea-party favorites from Utah and Lee famously won his seat by ousting a longtime incumbent who was considered too centrist in the primary. If he backed Chaffetz, it’d be a signal to those same primary voters that it’s time for another old blood/new blood transfusion. It’d also give Utah, hands down, the most conservative state caucus in the U.S. Senate. Hatch has been working hard to win tea-party support, though, praising them today after voting no on the debt-ceiling and saying, “The fact of the matter is I’ve been a tea party person I think since before the tea party came into existence.” The boss emeritus had a chuckle at that, but Hatch also has support among influential Republicans that Bob Bennett lacked. Just tonight, in fact, his campaign sent out an e-mail announcing that Sean Hannity has endorsed him. And since this next term will probably be Hatch’s last (he’s 77 now) and Chaffetz is in his mid-40s, Lee may figure that there’s no sense provoking an ugly fight now when Chaffetz is in line for the seat later. Hard to believe he’d get involved. Exit question: What about tackling Lugar in Indiana instead?