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Tea Party activist disputes comments about Hatch

Tea Party activist disputes comments about Hatch

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah Tea Party activist and leader is disputing published reports that say he wants to "trade up" Senator Orrin Hatch.

The Salt Lake Tribune this week reported David Kirkham had officially joined the fight against the senator's re-election bid, quoting him as saying, "I think we need to trade up," and "I am looking for someone new."

In an interview with KSL Newsradio, Kirkham said, "I don't think I said that."

He didn't rule it out completely, but said the choice of the words "trade up" would have been uncharacteristic for him and unfortunate. Kirkham confirms he was at an event with several other tea party activists, and believes someone else may have used those words.

"I would hope I am not a bomb thrower in (using words like) ‘trading up' or you know, ‘kicking out,' or any of those words, I hope, does not enter into our conversation," Kirkham said. "That's just not the discourse that I want this whole discussion to be."

But the Tribune article's author, Matt Canham, says "we need a trade up" are Kirkham's exact words. In fact, he sent an audio clip of the interview he conducted with Kirkham for the article to KSL News. The clip does appear to prove Kirkham the accuracy of the Tribune report.

Canham sent the clip Wednesday afternoon. KSL News does not have reaction from Kirham at this time.

Kirkham rallied with other Tea Partiers in Washington, D.C., against the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a group helping Republican Party candidates gain election to the Senate, including Senator Hatch.

"We want everybody to come to that conclusion for themselves, on who they think should represent their state. That's really how we feel. It's how we felt with Senator Bennett, hopefully it's how we feel with all of our elections," Kirkham adds.

Kirkham addressed the Senate Finance Committee this week about tax reform in his capacity as a small business owner, at the invitation of Sen. Hatch, despite, he says, the fact that Hatch knows he doesn't agree with him on the issues. He says Hatch was aware of the rally the day before at the NRSC.

Kirkham says he doesn't want the discourse to become personal.

"Sen. Hatch is a very personable man. He's very, very likeable. And I mean that in a very sincere way," Kirkham says. "I think he's sincere in what he does. I think he believes in what he does. I'm not sure that that is a common thread in all politicians, frankly."

"Obviously, I disagree with some things," Kirkham went on, citing Hatch's vote on TARP as a major disagreement, "but I think we need to be civil in our discourse."

He went on to say he believes it speaks highly of Sen. Hatch that he invited a dissenting voice to the table for the committee hearing.

"I believe Sen. Hatch wants to make the process better. Our vision for making that process better is a little bit different," Kirkham says.


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Becky Bruce


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