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Monday, August 01, 2005

State Legislative Leader and Blogger Steve Urquhart Challenging Sen. Orrin Hatch in Utah Senate GOP Primary

Utah State House Republican Whip Steve Urquhart thinks Utahns deserve having two United States senators working on their behalf in Washington, D.C., but one of the state's incumbents, Sen. Orrin Hatch, is more concerned about national issues. So Urquhart is challenging Hatch for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Urquhart is a young, tech-savvy conservative who is using a blog as a centerpiece of his campaign. He announced his campaign there and has used the blog to direct attention to his campaign web site.

There is a bit of irony in Urquhart's emphasis on blogs and new communication technologies, as Hatch was first elected in 1976 in an upset of a entrenched incumbent Democrat made possible in great part by the upstart's heavy use of cassette tapes to spread his campaign message.

Hatch is in his fifth term and remains extremely popular in Utah, plus he has a massive campaign war chest in the bank and enjoys long-standing relationships with Washington's K Street lobbyists and ideological advocacy communities.

Beltway Blogroll's Danny Glover has more on the Urquhart's campaign and its significance here.


Here's why the Hatch folks better not dismiss Urquhart too quickly - the Internet means we are in a completely new media world, which means the campaign world is different, too. As usual, Patrick Ruffini is thinking and writing most clearly on these issues, as in his post this morning on "Reaching Middle America online" in which he wonders:

"Is it possible that the high turnout last year had something to do with this new media environment? If politics has to be interesting and personality-driven to sell, if the campaigns now have to compete for bandwidth and airtime with crazy stuff like JibJab, that can mean only good things for public awareness and citizen involvement, no? It's just the opposite of the goo-goo vision of force-feeding us gobs of high-brow policy stories on the "public airwaves" to drive up turnout."

And when the media and campaign environments change, so will the government environment.