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SALT LAKE CITY — Businessman Pete Ashdown is back for another run at longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.
The 44-year-old Democrat kicked off his campaign with his family and about three dozen supporters Friday on the steps of the state Capitol, saying he intends to do things differently this time. Government, he said, cannot be changed by running campaigns the same way.
"As in 2006, I intend to innovate rather than follow the recipe," Ashdown said. "I want to break the mold of campaign consultants and cash."
He said he will not accept PAC money or form a super PAC and intends to fund his election bid with personal donations and his own money.
Ashdown, the founder of Utah-based Internet service provider XMission, again plans to make his campaign transparent and accountable via the Internet, something he said other politicians have failed to do.</
Ashdown won 31 percent of the vote when he challenged Hatch in 2006. He spent about $300,000, a third of which came out of his pocket.
Ashdown, the founder of Utah-based Internet service provider XMission, again plans to make his campaign transparent and accountable via the Internet, something he said other politicians have failed to do.
"Although strides and promises have been made by candidates running for office, who subsequently won office, the doors on our elected officials, the people working for us, inevitably swing shut to the public," he said.
Ashdown said his campaign won't be so much about hot-button issues as it will the influence of money in politics. "If I thought I had a chance of overhauling our tax code as a junior senator, I would tell you so," he said. "However, I have little to none."
Rich and powerful lobbyists, he said, have senators' attention 90 percent of the time.
"I do not believe everyone in Washington is self-serving and corrupt, but I have difficulty finding anyone deserving of my respect," he said.
Ashdown, a married father of three children, said he is fulfilled in professional life and doesn't lust for political office. But he's running, he said, because "life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and I still believe I can make a difference."