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Politics

Bennett's Advice To Hatch

December 17, 2010

Outgoing Sen. Bob Bennett (R) knows first-hand the dangers facing his in-state colleague, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), in 2012 at the Utah state GOP convention.

Bennett stunningly lost the Republican nomination at the GOP convention to Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R) this year despite an otherwise conservative record.

In a brief interview on Thursday, Bennett said it's too early to predict if Hatch will suffer the same fate but acknowledged overcoming a conservative challenge could be difficult.

"He will, I think, clearly face a challenge from within the party," Bennett said. "He always has, so that's nothing new."

Hatch's chances hinge on the political climate improving for moderates.

"If the climate doesn't change then he'll have a very tough convention, and he knows that," the outgoing senator said.

Appropriately, Bennett spoke to National Journal after speaking on a panel about the death of bipartisanship and civility in the Capitol. He was joined by Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), Chet Edward (D-Texas) and Mike Castle (R-Del.) -- three moderate lawmakers who each were defeated this year.

The Utah Republican had simple advice when asked how moderate Republicans can survive.

"Spend time with voters," he said. "That's the only solution."

"It's hard to hate someone you know," he said.

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