SALT LAKE CITY -- The three Democratic candidates to the U.S. Senate have their own specific issues, but all feel there needs to be a change in how Utah is represented in Washington, D.C.
Salt Lake City residents Scott N. Howell, William D. Peterson II and Pete Ashdown each hope to be the party's candidate in November.
To do so, they will have to make it past the State Democratic Party Convention today and Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City. If no candidate receives 60 percent of the delegates' votes, the top two finishers will move on to a June 26 primary election.
Howell and Ashdown challenged Hatch in the past -- Howell in 2000, Ashdown in 2006.
Howell, a policy director for IBM, served as a Utah State Senator from 1990 to 2000, as well as Senate minority leader.
"I've had it in the back of my mind for some time that I wanted to have a rematch with Orrin Hatch," Howell said. "I think he's been in there too long. After 36 years, it's time to have a change."
Ashdown, owner of the Internet service provider XMission, ran against Hatch in 2006.
"I said in 2006 after the race was over that I would run again," Ashdown said.
Peterson, an engineer who owned his own manufacturing business, said that while Hatch has been in office, the national deficit has gone from $700 billion to $15.5 trillion.
He believes the United States needs to change the way it conducts trade with other countries.
"I have been talking to Orrin Hatch for 20 years about the imbalance of trade," Peterson said. "He has not paid attention to me for 20 years. No one seems to understand our imbalance of trade, that is our deficit."
Howell believes the way to improve the country is through education.
"From my IBM experience, what I see is that we are falling behind," Howell said.
He sees higher education becoming less affordable.
"This race is not about moving left or right," Howell said, "This race is about moving forward or backward."
Ashdown believes politicians need to be more accountable.
If elected, he would record meetings with interest groups and make them available to the public through services such as YouTube.
"I think that kind of transparency would eliminate all of the shenanigans in Washington," Ashdown said.
"I believe accountability, transparency and public financing are the overriding issues that tend to negate all other issues in Washington."
No matter who gets elected, the candidates hope to end the partisanship in the nation's capitol.
"I don't like the tone of what's going on in Washington, I think we're lacking civility," Howell said. "There is no reaching across the aisle."