Utahns should re-elect Orrin Hatch to the U.S. Senate. He is in line to become chairman of the Finance Committee if the GOP wins control of the body, where he would be in an ideal position to advance the interests of Utah. If, by contrast, Utahns were to elect Scott Howell, Hatch's Democratic opponent, the Beehive State would add a second junior senator to its delegation with no seniority and no clout. It would be a repeat of the Bob Bennett debacle.
Howell is a capable candidate, an experienced state legislator with 10 years of service in the Utah Senate to his credit. He spent eight of those years as minority leader. A former IBM executive, he knows technology and the critical role it can play in improving the U.S. economy and education. But as a freshman senator, he would have virtually no influence on national affairs.
If Hatch were to become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he would be in a position to affect the major issues that are at the core of the current election: tax cuts and tax code simplification, the deficit, the future of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), spending reductions and entitlement reform. Of course, if Mitt Romney were to win the presidency, Hatch's already substantial influence would be magnified even more.