Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, dodged a bullet when Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he wouldn't mount a primary challenge, but Hatch doesn't have a totally clean shot at re-election just yet. Some Tea Party Republican types are keeping an eye on state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who is considering his own bid.
Liljenquist doesn't have the name identification or the money that Chaffetz does, but because of Utah's bizarre convention-centric nominating process, money means less in a Utah primary battle than it does elsewhere. And in a year in which incumbency is the worst stain a candidate can have, any Hatch challenger who can cast themselves as an outsider poses a real threat.
Hatch has been holding meetings with Tea Party activists to try to ameliorate their concerns. But if they're angry at Washington, playing up his experience in the capital probably isn't the best card.
Hatch's argument to the Provo Daily Herald as to why he should be re-elected: "Look, Utah will never get another chairman on the Senate finance committee."
We doubt that sentiment will carry much heft with those who just want to vote everyone in Washington out of office.
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