Prominent Mormon elected to the Senate

That would be Mike Lee, Utah’s new senator.

Oh yeah, that Harry Reid guy won too.

One of the more interesting Mormons in Congress is a new fellow, Republican Raul Labrador, who beat Dem. Walt Minnick in Idaho. Labrador is my kind of Mormon Republican: moderate on immigration and a fiscal conservative. He is a big tea party guy and of course benefitted from the fact that Idaho is an overwhelmingly Republican state.

Any thoughts on the election?

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

33 thoughts on “Prominent Mormon elected to the Senate

  1. Disappointed that the LDS candidate for governor in Idaho lost. Even my far-right MIL voted for him (because she despises the current governor for his stance on education). But Mormons don’t usually do too well running for Idaho governor, despite being a huge percentage of Idaho’s voters. And, of course, Democrats almost never do well in Idaho.

    Harry Reid winning, despite what all the polls said–that’s big news.

    And surely you mean “Idaho is an overwhelmingly Republican state.”

    Meanwhile, my current state (Ohio) turned hard to the right, including a win by a candidate who put out the most offensive attack ad I have ever seen (basically attacking a candidate for associating with American Muslims).

  2. I think Harry Reid should have included in his acceptance speech, “And I’d like to thank the Tea Party for selecting a psycho whack job to oppose me…”

    I think Republicans would do soooo much better if they were to fix immigration without making Latinos the enemy. Most Latinos are very conservative in their views (over 1/2 voted for Prop 8 in California), and if they were embraced by the GOP, they would end up winning major elections everywhere. Build the fence, but then make legal immigration easier to do.

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  4. In Iowa, voters kicked out all three supreme court justices who were on the ballot. In California, the supreme court justices’ vote for and against retention went: Moreno, 68%-32%; Chin, 65%-35%; Cantil-Sakauye, 67%-33%. No Proposition 8 effect at all.

  5. There is some anti-LDS feeling in parts if ID. People think the church will run their lives. You just have to look at the LDS who were elected to know that the church accepts all kinds – Harry Reid to Raul Labrador. I’m glad Reid kept his seat.

  6. One of the few bright points in the election is that voters rejected candidates that are way out there like Angle and Tancredo in Colorado. I still have my fingers crossed that Miller will lose in Alaska.

    Utah deserves what they get for electing Lee. How he convinced people that he was better than Bennett AND Bridgewater is beyond me. As is how he managed to convince them he is a Tea Partier.

  7. I think one takeaway from Harry Reid’s victory is that there were no Republican candidates capable of beating him. I favored Lowden in the R primary, but I’m not convinced she or Tarkanian would have done much better than Angle.

    Love him or hate him politically, Reid is a fighter and good campaigner.

    The Tancredo situation is a very peculiar case. The Republicans had a really good candidate named Josh Penry who is prominent in Republican politics on a state level, but he decided not to run and supported McGinnis. McGinnis then imploded and lost to Dan Maes, who was the Republican candidate. Tancredo could not have won the Republican primary (in my opinion) and people only turned to him to oppose Hickenlooper. Anyway, I think Penry would have beaten Hickenlooper.

    I can’t really comment on Lee. I hope he is a fiscal conservative.

  8. Nevada Republicans better come up with someone to replace damaged Senator Ensign in 2012. If not, well, Rory Reid lost the Nevada governor’s race to Brian Sandoval yesterday, and so he may be tempted to try giving new meaning to the phrase “junior senator from Nevada.”

  9. Personally, I’m rather pleased with the outcome in general. In Colorado, the extremists were soundly put down as they should be. And despite your opinion of me Geoff, I do think the GOP in control of the House is a good thing. One party controlling both Congress and the Presidency isn’t usually a good idea, as can be illustrated by the last administration.

    However, I’ll add one caveat to the statement above: it is a good thing that the GOP is in control of the House, but only if they will stop their recalcitrant, hyper-partisan gridlock and actually attempt to reach across the isle occasionally. Effective politics is the art of compromise. If there is no compromise, government will shut down and as a result we have no representation or reasonable progress as a nation.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  10. Thinking about it a little more, the problems in Nevada with the Republican governor, who lost his reelection primary, and with John Ensign would be tough challenges for the state GOP to overcome. With your two top statewide politicians so damaged and sidelined, organization would be hard. In good news for them, Republican Joe Heck did defeat one-term Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus, who had defeated Republican Jon Porter in 2008.

  11. John M, I agree with you that Ensign is in trouble in 2012 and I agree there don’t seem to be that many people in the wings ready to step up.

    Completely different subject: I lived in Florida for 20 years, and I know a fair amount about the politics there. The Republican wave in Florida is incredible. The state house and senate are completely dominated by Republicans, and the Rs picked up four new U.S. House seats, in addition to a R governor and Marco Rubio. This is HUGE for the 2012 presidential election, where Florida is a key swing state. PA, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa and Florida are turning more Republican, which is very alarming for the Dems wanting Obama to be reelected. It’s too early to say Colorado, Michigan and NM have turned Republican, but it’s possible.

  12. Geoff I didn’t think Tancredo had a chance, but it seemed like there were some polls in the past month that showed him pretty close. I’m glad they were wrong.

    I wonder if another Republican would have performed better against Reid. I don’t have any hard data to back it up, but I wonder if her crazy immigration ads took away some of the Hispanic vote, and if her pastor took away a few Mormon votes (don’t think the pastor caused much if any damage, but it’s a possibility). Would someone less extreme been able to focus on Reid as being the problem without coming off as a little nutty?

    “it is a good thing that the GOP is in control of the House, but only if they will stop their recalcitrant, hyper-partisan gridlock and actually attempt to reach across the isle occasionally.”

    So far it doesn’t sound like that’s the plan. Gridlock seems to be their major focus if you listen to the GOP leaders. Polls show that the public wants the GOP to work with Democrats and the President instead of against them. Will they listen to their constituency, or will they listen to Sarah Palin? I only see the GOP taking the House as a good thing if it leads to more compromise.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed as well.

  13. It depends on the compromise. If the compromise is more taxes and more government programs, than no. If the compromise is pulling out of Afghanistan and cutting the defense budget, then yes. If the compromise is some form of immigration reform, then yes. If the compromise is across-the-board budget cuts (similar to the UK), then yes.

    I think people are misunderstanding the message from Palin, et al. The point they are trying to make is that for Bush compromise meant a new prescription drug program and an expansion of government. That is definitely not what people want. But I would agree that there are many areas of possible compromise.

  14. Don’t forget, gridlock is a bi-directional issue. Over the last two years, the Republicans have been ignored and abused. Obama hasn’t invited some key Republican leaders in for discussions in almost 18 months.

    Chances are just as great that the Democrats will seek gridlock. Republicans will seek to cut spending (hopefully), and Democrats will malign the Republicans. Remember what Congressman Grayson said the Republican healthcare plan for seniors is? Hurry up and die!

    Nancy Pelosi has not wanted discussion from the Republicans. So we have a healthcare program that is gigantic, does nothing to actually reduce premiums, and does not fix tort law to reduce medical liability.

    So, if there is gridlock, perhaps we should look at both sides of the aisle?

  15. Rameumptom said,

    So, if there is gridlock, perhaps we should look at both sides of the aisle?

    Oh the Dems are definitely not blameless, I’ll emphatically agree with that. Both Reid and Pelosi have made some stupid partisan calls that have only made things worse. And it’s a fact that the minority party in Congress is almost always ignored and abused, not matter which party it happens to be. That’s not a good thing of course, but it is unfortunately the way it works.

    But on the other hand, the GOP didn’t get a reputation of being the party of “NO!” just because they like the echo it makes in the Senate chambers. If old “Uncle Grumpy” keeps being a royal pain, and always loudly disagrees with you no matter what you say or do, you’ll eventually stop inviting him to your family get-togethers. 🙂 Or in other words, if you are only going to be hyper-partisan and will never compromise, then you have no ground to stand upon when you complain of the natural consequences of your actions.

    Also, as far as Obama is concerned, he did try very early in his term to be bipartisan (which really ticked off the extreme left – it was funny to watch :-D). He has been less bipartisan recently, true. But given what I explained in my last paragraph, I can’t blame him. Nevertheless, he is still reasonably moderate and willing to make deals, as far as I can tell.

    Geoff said,

    I would agree that there are many areas of possible compromise.

    Definitely. But will they? Mitch McConnell is recently quoted that the highest priority for the GOP is to make sure Obama is a one-term president. The highest priority! :sigh:

    That doesn’t bode well, but we’ll see.

    I’m personally interested in how the debt ceiling vote will play out. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling come next year, America will default which would cause worldwide economic catastrophe. So will the Tea Party/GOP anti-debt extremists vote against this? If they vote for it they are going for their principles. If they vote against it or attempt to stall or boycott the vote, we will all suffer for it. It should be interesting.

  16. Yeah, that highest priority quote is pretty damning if you think the GOP is willing to work with the President at all. You can’t expect him to compromise on some issues knowing the GOP will refuse the compromise on anything.

    If they really want him out of office they will refuse anything, even if they believe it’s right for the country, just because it might give him an uptick in the polls in 2012.

    One thing that is also interesting is that enough people that Palin endorsed lost that you could plausibly blame her for the GOP not taking the Senate. If there were more moderate Republicans running and she butted out, would they have the House and the Senate? I wonder if the GOP leadership will try to get her out of the way in this coming year so she’ll interfere less in the next election?

  17. “So will the Tea Party/GOP anti-debt extremists vote against this? If they vote for it they are going for their principles. If they vote against it or attempt to stall or boycott the vote, we will all suffer for it. It should be interesting.”

    Interesting in a scary way.

  18. It seems to me that Obama has spent more time and energy reaching out to Islam than he has to Republicans. The results of this election is as much a repudiation of his style as of his policies.

  19. JJohnson,

    So you think it is only Republicans that stonewall? Nancy Pelosi has refused to work with the Republicans for most of the last 2 years. Pres Obama has not invited key Republicans in for discussions in 18 months. How’s that for an attempt to not compromise?

    For the Republicans, it will depend on their focus. If the Old establishment have their way, their focus will be to get rid of Pres Obama in 2 years. If the new Republicans have their way, they will fix the economy, reduce the deficit, and then elect a Republican president in 2 years. But in that order.

    You can’t pretend that the old style Republicans and Democrats have been playing the same game for years? Rahm Emanuel actually said that they shouldn’t let a “good crisis go to waste” when it came to the economic collapse, and so pushed through all kinds of economy-paralyzing programs over the past 2 years.

    Want to stop job growth? Obamacare includes a requirement that any business that does $600 or more of commerce with anyone, must file paperwork on it. Imagine the trucking companies that use gas stations everywhere, trying to figure out which stations they’ve spent more than $600 with!

    New regulations the Democrats have put in place, or wanted to put in place, have paralyzed business. They are hanging onto their money, and not expanding, because if they expand and then some new rule makes them unprofitable to be that big, then they’ve shot themselves in the foot. Many small businesses only have 49 workers on the payroll, because they don’t want the added regulations for larger companies.

    So, let’s quit pointing all our fingers at the Republicans. BOTH parties have screwed up and screwed us. We need new blood in BOTH parties to fix it. We need people like Gov Ed Rendell (D, Penn), who on Morning Joe this morning said that we’re going to have to tell the people that the recovery is going to be painful and we’re all going to have to give stuff up. Gov Christie is doing just that in New Jersey.

  20. “So you think it is only Republicans that stonewall? ”

    Show me where I said this. Then I’ll bother reading the rest of your post.

  21. Jjohnsen,

    Are we to take from your response that you believe these elections were only a repudiation of Obama’s policies? Or only a repudiation of his style? These elections were certainly not an endorsement of his administration. Even if he had kept his promise that the health care debate would be on C-SPAN, he might have fared better. He has consistently shown disdain to those who disagree with him. He lost my vote well before his election in 2008 with his “bitter clinger” remark. He has shown little respect to me, and the feeling is mutual.

  22. Geoff B.,
    I think the “Republican wave” in Florida has everything to do with old people. Seeing that Florida is the top retirement state, and that this election saw a huge percentage of elderly voting (and a much smaller percentage of younger people), the Republican wave is predictable. The average age of voters skyrocketed this year.

    It’s really a shame that more young people don’t get out and vote. They’re the ones that have the most to gain–and the most to lose–from the elections. After all, they’ll be living with the consequences for much longer than the senior citizens will.

  23. “He lost my vote well before his election in 2008 with his “bitter clinger” remark. He has shown little respect to me, and the feeling is mutual.”

    I can tell you’re think skinned and see no reason to continue a conversation in fear that I may hurt your feelings. But really, his big problem is reaching out to Islam over Republicans? There’s nothing else to discuss if that’s what you believe because we’re working on different planes of reality.

  24. I was listening to whatever-his-name-is the Minority Leader who figures he’ll get Mrs. Pelosi’s job. But there are about a hundred new Republican congressmen; maybe they don’t want him. This Tea Party business seemed more opposed to business-as-usual Republicans than to Democrats, at least initially.

  25. Jjohnsen,

    All I am saying is that the current administration has done nothing to attract my vote. If the perception he gives is that he isn’t interested in me, by both his policies and style, then he gets exactly the support from me he is looking for. What about Guantanamo? What about televising the health care debate? Why does he get a pass for supporting civil unions instead of gay marriage? What about unemployment above 9%? Why hasn’t he subimitted a jobs bill yet? People on the left should be just as upset with him as those on the right.

  26. Geoff. On your post about Florida turning republican.. I would hold up there a bit.
    True they gained a lot of ground, but is important to notice that Scott won by a difference of 1% ( why Scott won after been involved in the biggest fraud of Medicare is beyond me ). It’s important to notice that in all of the areas where Republicans gained control, were also the places where democrat turnout was low, a lot of disappointment. The same conclusion could have been said when Obama took Florida in 08. So adding all that together it’s easy to see how and why Republicans did so well.
    Marco Rubio had the support of the exiled cuban americans and the republican base, I’m interested to see how they play out Immigration, Scott wants to implement an Arizona style law in Florida, for anyone that has lived in Florida will know that that will = failure.

  27. One of the new congressman is Mo Brooks in Alabama. He thought his opponent was making religion a campaign issue, so Brooks issued this statement clarifying his own religion:

    I was raised in the Methodist Church (I attended Trinity Methodist on Airport Road). As a teenager, I briefly attended both Whitesburg Baptist and Faith Presbyterian. A very close friend of mine was a Mormon missionary. In 1978, I joined the Mormon Church. About a decade ago, I decided that my faith was more akin to that of a nondenominational Christian.

    I have faith in God and in Jesus Christ as our savior. I read the King James version of the Bible. I believe in the two great commandments. Per Ecclesiastes 3:17, I also believe it is God’s place to judge my soul (“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.”).

    My wife is Mormon. Notwithstanding that I do not have faith in all of the things necessary to be a Mormon, I have great respect for Mormons. They are fine people. They teach strong family and moral values. I attend Mormon services with my wife, Martha, because she likes me to sit with her during sacrament service and because I love her (and the weekly reminder of moral values and principles is good for me).

    The other Congressional candidates know that I am a nondenominational Christian. But this is a race for Congress. In political terms, this is the “big leagues”. A lot is at stake. And it is very common for candidates to use any weapon they perceive they may have. Hence, it is very likely that my Congressional foes will attack the Mormon faith and appeal to prejudice in an effort to drive a wedge between voters and me.

    Fortunately, we’ve won 8 elections despite past appeals to religious prejudice. But that does not seem to stop those who stoop to such tactics.


  28. On immigration politics, here’s something of note. The Republican majority in the Arizona state senate increased from 18 out of 30 to 21, and on Wednesday Russell Pearce was selected to be the senate president. So, Geoff, it looks like anti-illegal immigration politics can pay off.

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