Democrats Tried To Recruit Jeopardy Champ To Run Against Orrin Hatch

Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings says that top Democrats tried to get him to run against Orrin Hatch in 2004:

Top Senate Democrats sought to recruit Ken Jennings to challenge Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) back in 2004, the “Jeopardy!” contestant revealed Thursday.


Schumer went on to become head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2005 and earned a reputation for recruiting top candidates.

Jennings continued: “I am not making this up. Win on a game show and you can apparently run for the US Senate. That was when I realized the Democratic Party was f@#$ed in ’04.”

In an online forum, Jennings told readers: “[Sens.] Chuck Schumer [D-N.Y.] and Harry Reid [D-Nev.] both called me back personally in 2004 to try to get me to run for Orrin Hatch’s Senate seat.”

Keep in mind, though, that this is Utah and that Jennings would’ve been a sacrificial lamb anyway.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Herb says:

    “Win on a game show and you can apparently run for the US Senate.”

    Ha! I’m guessing Jennings doesn’t think too highly of Sarah Palin then….

  2. Franklin says:

    More proof that Jennings brainpower is bigger than his ego.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    With all due respect to Jennings, who seems like a really nice guy (and, it goes without saying, very bright), the Dems were almost certainly not recruiting him because they thought he could beat Hatch. It was more likely they were looking for a upright, presentable candidate who would not embarrass them and not force them to dip into their financing coffers. So Jennings either had money of his own and could contribute significantly to his campaign, or they felt his celebrity would make it easier to raise money, maybe even money from non-traditional sources.