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Hatch: Shutdown cost GOP Virginia's governor mansion

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said Thursday that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli would have won the governor's race against Terry McAuliffe had two unnamed senators not thrust the country into a government closure.

We say unnamed because Hatch didn't call the two senators out by name. But let's just say their names start with Ted and Mike and end in Cruz and Lee.

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"Look, Cuccinelli would have won if a couple of senators hadn't shut down the government," Hatch told Fox News on Thursday. "Frankly he'd have won if he'd just been able to further explore for a couple more weeks just how bad Obamacare is."

McAuliffe, a longtime friend of former President Bill Clinton, bested Cuccinelli 48 to 46 percent on Election Day after a nasty, mud filled campaign. National observers attributed McAuliffe's win to the fact that Cuccinelli was too far right a candidate for Virginia.

Hatch says the shutdown dominated the news for weeks, covering up the news that the Affordable Care Act website exchanges were hampered with problems.

While Hatch didn't call out his Utah Republican colleague by name, it isn't the first time Hatch has been critical of the strategy Lee used to tie passing a budget to cutting funding for Obamacare; The House and Senate impasse over that effort caused the first government closure in nearly 17 years.

"When Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the federal government, we have to understand what is achievable and what is not," Hatch said when a compromise to re-open the government was reached. "Too many were led to believe we could accomplish something that was never possible - namely defunding ObamaCare through a government shutdown."

Political handicappers say the shutdown could affect the mid-term elections in 2014 and help Democrats. Hatch says that's already the case and led the way for Gov. McAuliffe.

Thomas Burr


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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