Utah: Bennett Won’t Close Door on Write-In Effort

Posted May 11, 2010 at 6:03pm

Sen. Bob Bennett on Tuesday declined to rule out seeking re-election as a write-in candidate.

The Republican finished third in convention voting of 3,500 Utah GOP delegates, failing to qualify for the June 22 primary ballot. Although the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already pledged to support the winner of that contest, Bennett suggested that the Senate GOP leadership supports his decision to consider running in the general election as a write-in.

“I have made a decision not to make any decisions or any announcements for a while. So, we will let this thing settle,” Bennett told reporters after exiting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office after Tuesday’s leadership meeting. “When I tell [my Republican colleagues] that I have decided not to make any decisions, they all say that’s really a smart thing to do.”

Bennett is a close adviser to McConnell.

Bennett on Saturday secured less than 40 percent of the delegate vote and finished behind businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee.

“It’s a little like going to your own funeral while you’re still alive,” Bennett said.

At least some of the grass-roots anger that led to Bennett’s predicament is attributed to government spending and earmarks. But Bennett was defiant, saying he would spend the remainder of the year focusing on policies important to him and his state, including pursing earmarks.

“I’ll do my duty as an appropriator, and I’ll still be in favor of earmarks,” he said.