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April 21, 2012

Orrin Hatch to Face Primary Opponent

He needed 60% of the delegates to avoid a primary. He got a fraction over 59%. The Daily Caller's Matt K. Lewis is in Utah and has been live-tweeting the convention. Hatch will face Dan Liljenquist in a June 26th primary.

A year ago, it seemed clear that Hatch would lose the nomination.

While Bennett and former representative Chris Cannon — defeated at the 2008 GOP convention by Rep. Jason Chaffetz — bemoaned the state’s arcane rules for nominating candidates, Hatch used them to his advantage. “He worked hard and spent a lot of money,” Chaffetz, 45, who considered challenging the senator, said with grudging respect. “He’s just parked himself in Utah.”

More than a year ago, Hatch’s campaign polled the 3,500 Republican delegates who voted Bennett out of office in May 2010.

Its discovery: Hatch had no chance of getting renominated, if those same 3,500 people voted.

“This is not going to be a campaign of persuading delegates,” Hatch’s campaign manager, Dave Hansen, said Thursday, recalling a conversation with the senator early last year. “This is going to be a campaign of replacing delegates.”

. . .

To survive, Hatch needed new delegates. The first step was to recruit supporters willing to run in the 2,000 precincts that select this year’s 4,000 delegates to Saturday’s convention. Then he had to round up supporters willing to attend caucus night to vote for the Hatch-backed delegates.

And Hatch might have gotten the 60% of delegates he needed, but his recent comments about despising libertarians and wanting to punch them in the mouth surely cost him a few points. Instead of embracing the democratic process, Hatch seemed to be resentful and angry that anyone would dare challenge him.

His big selling point is that in a Republican majority Senate, he would chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee... and rake in the big bucks for Utah.

Term limits, anyone?

Added: If anyone thinks Orrin Hatch is in favor of smaller, less-intrusive government, think again. Recall a couple of years ago he threatened federal involvement in order to get a WAC conference team, BYU, into the BCS championship. Read here, here, and here. Because government needs to be involved in everything.

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