On the state Capitol steps, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff today announced that he will run for the U.S. Senate to help salvage our "blessed but troubled nation" from the slide toward "socialism."
"The winds of change, they are a-blowing," Shurtleff said.
"Not the bigger government, corporate welfare, radical liberal nannyism type of change promised and now being implemented by [President Barack] Obama. But, starting today, we the people of Utah, we the people of the United States, are taking back America!"
In a fiery speech filled with red-meat rhetoric used by talk-show hosts like Glenn Beck, whom Shurtleff quoted, the attorney general blamed Sen. Bob Bennett for not just sitting by during big government bailouts and giveaways but for actively participating in these programs.
"Instead of promoting principles of individual responsibility, he let us down and looked upon government as the solution," Shurtleff complained.
"Time is of the essence in saving our country."
Shurtleff, who recently bagged a third term as the state's top prosecutor, hopes to wrest the Republican nomination away from three-term Bennett next year.
Shurtleff didn't sound like the same politician who has developed an image as something of a maverick reaching across party lines on things like gay rights and hate-crimes legislation. Instead, he made a clear appeal to the conservatives who dominate the state GOP convention that is crucial in Utah's unusual nominating process.
In addition to Shurtleff, former congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater has said he is exploring a Senate run.
Whichever Republican emerges would face Democrat Sam Granato, a Salt Lake City restaurateur.
Shurtleff, a 51-year-old father of five and grandfather of one -- said he and his wife M'Liss pondered the weighty decision for weeks.
"I would have to commute -- I'm out of their lives a certain amount of the time," Shurtleff said in an earlier interview. "We're struggling with that."
But Wednesday, the veteran fundraiser -- tens of thousands routinely roll into his campaign account from corporate sources all over the country -- vowed to breathe new life into Washington, D.C., politics.