Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Scott Howell is making an issue out of Sen. Orrin Hatch's age suggesting in a fundraising email that he might "die before his term is through" or become so sick he would need to retire.
Howell sent the email this week to supporters saying, "Look Orrin Hatch is not a bad guy. But he is an old guy, and he's a lifer politician. Our nation doesn't need that. And, at nearly 80 years old, he lacks the skill, knowledge and proficiency to face America's modern needs."
Then he adds the kicker: "We cannot risk the possibility of an 80-year-old man taking office, only to retire or die before his term his through."
When asked about that email, Howell's campaign manager, Emily Hollinghead, said in an email, "The reality is that age is a factor in this election. The Founding Fathers never intended for public service to be a lifelong profession. Scott brings innovation, enthusiasm and a different kind of experience to this race. It's time for a refresh."
Hatch's campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said, "It is absolutely offensive, not just to the senator but to the people of Utah and especially those who are getting up in age."
"Senator Hatch is the youngest 78-year-old I've ever seen in my life," Hansen said. "He wears out staffers in their 20s and 30s. Nobody works harder. He's just as sharp as he's ever been, and to suggest not to vote for him because he might die in office is truly offensive. ... When a campaign doesn't have anything to campaign on and the campaign is going nowhere, it resorts to this kind of tactic."
Howell who will turn 59 next week has made more of an issue of Hatch's 36 years in office than did GOP challengers who ran unsuccessfully against Hatch this year. Howell also addressed that again in his fundraising email.
"Coming from the business world, my perspective is this: If an individual hasn't accomplished his/her professional goals in 36 years, another six years will make no difference. In most professions other than politics, Orrin Hatch would have been given the golden handshake over 10 years ago," he wrote.