This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Democratic Senate candidate Scott Howell warns that Sen. Orrin Hatch could die in office.

You know who else could die in office? Scott Howell.

So says Sen. Bob Bennett when asked Wednesday about Howell's comments floated in a fund-raising email last weekend that raises Hatch's age as a liability and that the elder senator could pass before finishing his six-year term.

"Scott Howell may die before his term is up" if he's elected, Bennett told me after speaking at the National Press Club. "Who knows."

Bennett, now 79, is just a year older than Hatch and notes that he's seen senators die in office and others live on way into their 90s. Bennett noted that the late-Georgia Sen. Paul Coverdell was elected to office but died at age 61 of a cerebral hemorrhage before his term was up.

Meanwhile, Bennett added, former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond was elected to a term at 94 years old served all the way through, dying after he left office at age 100.

But Bennett noted that he wasn't going to weigh into Howell's accusations. "I'm not going to make any guesses as to Orrin's longevity," Bennett said.

— Thomas Burr@thomaswburr