Howell quoted a recent analysis by Nate Silver of the New York Times showing the GOP has only a 13 percent chance of winning the Senate in November.
Hatch also has hitched his re-election bid to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
"I believe Mitt Romney is going to be elected president of the United States, and I intend to help him. And I'll be in a position to help him. That's why he made that statement, 'We need Orrin Hatch in the United States Senate,'" he said.
Howell counters by saying Hatch can't ride Romney's coattails.
"You should stand up for who you are. You have a record," he told the senator at a recent debate.
Hatch says he has a proven track record as a conservative. He said he's the only candidate in position to repeal Obamacare, overhaul the tax code, reform entitlements and reduce the national debt. Hatch has proposed a balance budget amendment 20 times during his tenure, coming within one vote of getting it passed in 1997.
"Fighting for fiscal restraint has often been an uphill battle, but this year more Americans than ever before are eager to see the budget balanced, the deficits ended and the debt reduced," he said.
Howell, a retired IBM executive, said Hatch has had more than three decades to accomplish some of those things. He's part of the problem, not the solution, Howell said.
"At IBM, if we kept our same leadership for 36 years, we'd be bankrupt," he said.
* * *
Occupation: U.S. senator
Education: Bachelor's degree in history, BYU; law degree, University of Pittsburgh
Political experience: 36 years in Senate
Family: Wife, Elaine; six children
Residence: Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City
* * *
Occupation: Retired IBM executive
Education: Bachelor's degree in political science, University of Utah
Political experience: Utah Senate three terms; failed 2000 bid for U.S. Senate
Family: Wife, Linda; four children
Residence: Salt Lake City
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