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Hatch, the Senate deal maker, is back

After dramatic pivot from center, Utah senator returns to his deal-making role.

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"I haven’t changed," he said. "It is just in campaigns you answer the questions you are asked."

Now that his seventh and final election is over, it seems likely Hatch would feel a new freedom to vote without having to worry much about the reaction of voters. Hatch says that is not the case.

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"I don’t think winning an election should change your overall attitude," he said. "I’m going to be the same Orrin Hatch I’ve always been."

Holly Richardson sees it differently.

A clear shift » A former state lawmaker, Richardson ran Liljenquist’s campaign against Hatch and says there’s been a clear shift, though she notes that that’s far from unusual in the world of politics.

"This is not unique to Orrin Hatch. This is the pattern that happens in elections," she said. "Mitt Romney had to campaign in a very different way to a very different group of voters to get out of the primary and then couldn’t appeal to middle America."

Richardson supported Romney and while she said Hatch "has done some good things," she wishes Utah would have made a change. She says she’s frustrated that voters and party leaders are too often swayed by election-year pandering.

"People do believe that this time will be different, that the change will be permanent," Richardson said. "But it is usually not."

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Twitter: @mattcanham

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