Here's hoping Dan Liljenquist wins the primary. We need new conservatives in the Senate and I believe Hatch's six terms is more than enough time in "public service." - Reggie
SANDY, Utah — Sen. Orrin Hatch failed to clinch his party’s nomination at the state GOP convention Saturday, ensuring a June primary against state Sen. Dan Liljenquist.
The six-term Republican incumbent fell just short of the 60 percent threshold necessary to skirt a June 26 face-off. On the second ballot, Hatch notched 59 percent of the vote to Liljenquist’s 41 percent.
While Hatch avoided the fate of former Sen. Bob Bennett — who was denied the renomination in dramatic fashion at this convention two years ago — he now enters a two-month campaign that he would have liked to avoid. In the end, Hatch fell short by fewer than 50 votes from avoiding a fight into the summer.
Surrounded by disappointed supporters in his campaign suite after the vote, Hatch attempted to put the best face on the outcome, saying he didn’t even expect to reach the 60 percent bar.
“A lot of people were predicting my demise here. Just a couple months ago, people didn’t give me much of a chance. I think I’ve proven I’m a tough old bird and I’m not an easy one,” he said, going on to predict a primary win in June.
In an adjoining suite, a perspiring and jubilant Liljenquist acknowledged he wasn’t sure he had the delegate support to force a primary fight.
“You know, it really didn’t matter. We did everything we could do. We had 108 different events. We went all over the state and almost no sleep and I’m still on my feet. But one by one, we changed people. And even this morning, as I came around our booth, that may have just made the difference,” he said. “We’re outspent 30-to-1 in this race already, but that doesn’t scare us. Because at the end of the day, the people of this state deserve a choice.”
Hatch made his relationship with Mitt Romney and the opportunity to serve as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee the two central tenets of his campaign, a theme he reiterated in his convention speech.
“We’re going to lead with a Republican majority. And we’re going to work hand-in-hand with President Mitt Romney,” he said. “I’m going to be chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Believe me when I say that a strong and experienced chairman can make all the difference in the world.”
And there is this...