Democratic Candidate Wants to Turn Tables on Hatch

Democratic Candidate Wants to Turn Tables on Hatch

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John Daley ReportingLong-timer versus first-timer, that's the story of the political battle emerging for the US Senate seat currently held by Orrin Hatch. His Democratic challenger aims to turn the tables, just as Hatch did in 1976.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch is running for his sixth term. His challenger is Democrat Pete Ashdown.

Democratic Candidate Wants to Turn Tables on Hatch

Today the two-men met for the first time, in the State Elections Office where they both showed up this morning to file papers as candidates for the US Senate. Ashdown is 39, the founder and president of the Internet Service Provider X-Mission. He's never run for office.

Seventy-one-year-old Hatch is one of the Senate's most powerful figures. He was a 42-year-old attorney, running for public office for the first time. In 1976 as a dark horse candidate, he upset longtime Democratic Senator Frank Moss, saying it was time for a change.

Today it's Ashdown saying government needs fresh blood, while Hatch emphasizes steady experience.

Pete Ashdown, (D) Candidate for U.S. Senate: "I think that it's time for a change. What Senator Hatch ran on in 1976 was change. And I think Senator Hatch has done a good job protecting the last 30 years of this country, but I need to look ahead to the next 50 years of this country. And that's what I'm advocating."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R) Utah: "I've voted in the best interests of Utah every day I've been there, and frankly, I still have a lot of work to do. There's some very important things ranging from the Skull Valley situation to Hill Field, making sure that's permanently saved. All kinds of businesses, including Micron, you can go right down the line."

Senator Hatch downplays troubles he and fellow Republicans in the majority party are facing over issues like Iraq and the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and he gives President Bush high marks.

Ashdown is pushing energy independence, health care reform and improving the nation's infrastructure.

By the way, both candidates are married with children. Ashdown has three. Hatch has six and 22 grandchildren.

To win in 1976, Orrin Hatch had to first survive a tough primary. This time around, it looked like Hatch would get a primary challenge from State Representative Steven Urquhart, but he entered the race only to drop out, in part citing a difficulty in raising enough money.

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