Howell sat down with the Deseret News editorial board this week to answer questions about the campaign. He seems anxious to attack the senator’s age (Hatch is 78 and would be 84 at the end of his next term, should he win). The senator “could be my dad,” Howell said, hinting that Hatch lacks the stamina to continue serving effectively.
That’s the same tactic Republican challenger Dan Liljenquist used unsuccessfully in his primary election challenge of Hatch this year. Howell believes Liljenquist was hurt by tea party support and that he will be seen as a more palatable and reasonable candidate.
Howell also wants to paint Hatch as fiscally irresponsible and himself as a conservative Democrat. He especially emphasized Hatch’s support for Medicare Part D and for raising the debt ceiling several times.
This is Howell’s second try at unseating Hatch. He opposed him in 2000 and lost, receiving 31 percent of the vote. Hatch outspent him $5.25 million to $297,000 that year and looks to have a huge funding advantage this year, too.
Below are audio files of Howell’s answers to seven questions about his candidacy.
"Aren't you just the Democrats' sacrificial lamb?"
"Will you endorse President Obama or Mitt Romney?"
"What is your position on the Affordable Care Act, or 'Obamacare?' "
"The Senate is so politically polarized. Will you be able to change that?"
"How would you define your position on fiscal responsibility in relation to your opponent?"
"Would you work to keep Hill Air Force Base open? Sen. Hatch has made that one of his priorities."