The Club has publicly encouraged Rep. Jason Chaffetz to challenge Hatch. "Some people say we should we happy because Orrin Hatch is now voting to the right of Jim DeMint," said Chocola. But what matters, he maintained, is not what Hatch is doing today, but what he's been doing for 35 years, and most importantly, what he'll do for the next six years. He called Hatch's recent behavior a "survival instinct," and said they weren't convinced that Hatch, if reelected, would continue on his recent path.
Lugar "looks a lot like [former Sen. Bob] Bennett," the Utah Republican who lost to now-Sen. Mike Lee in 2010. In comparison, "Hatch, to his credit, has taken this very seriously," Chocola said. "He has worked very hard to save his job. And I have respect for that. I think that he does not take anything for granted. I'm not convinced it's sincere and genuine, but I do think he has worked hard to try to save his job."
But the Club isn't just getting involved in a primary for the sake of getting involved. That's good news for Sen. Olympia Snowe, who faces re-election in a much more moderate state than either Lugar or Hatch. "We don't see a better alternative [to Snowe] right now, and Maine is not Utah," Chocola said. He said the state is lower on their list of priorities.
But Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., may be next on the hot seat. The Club has already gone after the freshman Republican, who is seeking to replace retiring Democrat Kent Conrad. When asked if there was anyone they hoped would enter the race, he noted that Duane Sand, who has previously run unsuccessfully for statewide office 3 times and is already in the race, was "pretty good on our issues." He also brought up North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, someone who has not been mentioned frequently, as a potential candidate.