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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Senator Robert Bennett Loses at Convention

Three-term U. S. Senator Robert Bennett failed on Saturday to get enough support at the Utah Republican Convention to advance to the GOP primary. Utah law says that, to be listed on the primary ballot, a candidate must get at least 35 percent of the delegate votes. If a candidate receives at least 60 percent at the convention, he is the nominee, and there is no primary.

"Mr. Bennett was eliminated from the Senate race in the second of three rounds of delegate voting. He finished third in the vote; only the top two advance to the final round."

Having only two candidates on the primary ballot ensures that the winner will get 50-plus percent without the necessity of a runoff (or second) primary.

"... businessman Tim Bridgewater and lawyer Mike Lee... will compete in a June 22 primary. Running on populist platforms, they both have backing from tea-party supporters..."

"Mr. Bennett [who'll turn 77 in September] can't run as an independent Senate candidate because the filing deadline to do so has passed. He told the Associated Press on Saturday that he hasn't ruled out running as a write-in candidate in November."

However, Ballot Access News asserts that "if he did wish to run as an independent, he could probably overturn the deadline in court.

"Many courts have ruled that independent petition deadlines, or even independent candidate deadlines for filing a declaration of candidacy, for non-presidential office, cannot be earlier than the primary (or the day before the primary)."

Among the reasons given by delegates for opposing Bennett were (1) his vote for TARP funds to bail out banks; (2) his co-sponsorship, with Democratic senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon liberal, of a healthcare bill that included a requirement that individuals buy health insurance; and (3) the belief that Bennett has been in Washington too long.

This reminds me of the 1980 Hinds County Republican Convention, where U. S. Senator Thad Cochran was defeated for delegate to the state GOP convention. The convention was dominated by supporters of Ronald Reagan for president, and Cochran, along with Haley Barbour, was backing John Connally, the former Texas governor and U. S. Treasury secretary.


[1] In presidential election years, Mississippi's qualifying deadline for all candidates for U. S. senator and U. S. representative is in January. This means that independent candidates must turn in their petitions by that date. A lawsuit challenging this deadline for independents would have an excellent chance of winning.


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