And though Rep. Jason Chaffetz
(R-Utah) -- considering a run against Sen. Orrin Hatch
(R) -- ultimately voted for the extension, he told the Washington Post
he had not yet decided how he would vote ahead of last week's vote. And the Salt Lake Tribune reported
that Chaffetz was "taking heat" from constituents for his vote. Chaffetz also posted an explanation to his Facebook page defending his actions after the vote.
Heller, in a statement, said he believes that national security and protection of freedoms are on equal footing in the country. "Allowing the federal government to conduct wiretaps and domestic surveillance without rigorous oversight provides the government too much authority," he said. "We cannot endlessly reauthorize this program without addressing its impacts on our civil liberties."
And Mack cited similar sentiments behind his vote: his spokesperson David James
emailed that Mack believes the Act violates an individual's Constitutional rights.
In all three states, the tea party could have significant influence during the primaries, if the 2010 Senate races are any indication -- conservative activists in Utah took down former Sen. Bob Bennett
(R) and choose Lee as their nominee; in Florida former Gov. Charlie Crist
(I) had to leave the Republican party to compete and was defeated by tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio
(R); and in Nevada, tea partiers helped nominee Sharron Angle
(R) score an upset victory in the Republican primary.
The Patriot Act extension issue makes for some strange bedfellows -- Demand Progress, a liberal group, is running an ad
in DC this week urging Congress to "stop the spying." 27 Republicans joined
Democrats to vote against the extension, and 65 Democrats joined the rest of the House Republicans to pass the measure.