Liljenquist's campaign has spent $614,000, largely due to $400,000 he loaned it. He served three years in the state Senate before resigning to challenge Hatch. He notes that he led efforts to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and its pension system for state employees
Hatch has confronted Liljenquist's calls for new leadership by emphasizing that he's in line to run the Senate Finance Committee if Republicans take control of the Senate. The committee has oversight over tax issues and trade as well as Medicare, Social Security and other big drivers of government spending.
"Let's be honest about it, Utah is going to have a great advantage with me as chairman," Hatch said in the one post-convention debate with Liljenquist, on KSL Radio in Salt Lake City.
Liljenquist's case is that Hatch has used his influence to increase government spending through pet projects, his partnership with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., in creating a $9-billion-a-year health care program for children and his vote for Medicare prescription drug benefits.
"I am running, senator, because you could become chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, not in spite of it," Liljenquist said.
Freking reported from Washington.
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