With Shurtleff out, the power vacuum in the coming senate racing is whirling tornado-likes as politicos speculate on new challengers entering the fray and the prospects for remaining challengers to beat three term incumbent Bob Bennett.
Shurtleff cited ongoing health concerns with his 17-year-old daughter, who has struggled with mental health issues and is currently seeking treatment for bowing out of the race that many argued leaned in his favor.
As for newcomers to the race the Trib’s Glen Warchol is already putting odds on Chaffetz attempting to upgrade his status to senator given his boyish charms and knack for unseating old-fogey incumbents.
As other articles have pointed out, Shurtleff hasn’t closed the door on future ambitions, and while the campaign is only suspended, he has said that he is officially out.
Still, Shurtleff is also right in saying he was the most dangerous contender to Bennett.
All the more reasons for Shurtleff to keep some skin in the game, if not seek another higher office. First off, he’s already raised $146,000 for the federal race. By federal election laws Shurtleff stands to face steep taxation and/or penalties if he doesn’t use that for federal office.
Likewise he’s built up a solid campaign machine that was just starting to hum. It would be easier to keep that machine in idle right now then to turn it off completely.
Shurtleff’s also got state-wide name recognition and other vehicles that will keep his name out there. Like a state office regularly making headlines for notable, vote-worthy deeds like cracking down on sex predators and dangerous illegal immigrants. Not to mention a book out.
All cynicism aside, it may just be too early to count Shurtleff out. If he feels like family affairs can be managed in the next couple of months, Shurtleff could easily come back into the game fresh in the new year and still be Bennett’s biggest threat. Chances are with his campaign savvy and name recognition he could revive his senate campaign a week before the convention in May and at least qualify for the primaries in June.
Shurtleff has said however his daughter would not be finished at her treatment facility until June, which makes this scenario less likely.
Still, it’s certainly too late to count Shurtleff out. House, Senate, who knows? He’s got the power to get there and the money in the bank. And, as he’s proven with this recent announcement, he’s definitely in line with most Utahns by putting family first.