In 2010, one of the first casualties among moderate Republicans was Utah Senator Bob Bennett, who could not muster enough support among GOP State Convention delegates to even give him an opportunity to be on the primary ballot. It was a stunning blow to the establishment and there was immediate speculation that Utah’s other Senator – Orrin Hatch – was next.
However, Hatch saw the hand writing on the wall and has been, as they say, “workin’ it hard” for the last 18 months to ensure he doesn’t suffer the same fate as Bennett.
It worked. In Saturday’s Utah State GOP Convention, Hatch not only received enough votes to get into the primary, but came within a hairs-breadth of winning the nomination outright (60% of the vote is needed to win outright, Hatch reportedly received just over 59%).
Here’s the headline of the AP story: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch forced into primary fight
And here is the lede of the story:
U.S. Sen. Sen. Orrin Hatch has been forced into a primary fight for his seventh term.
Hatch failed to get the needed 60 percent of delegate votes during Saturday’s Utah Republican convention that would have made him the outright GOP nominee.
A more accurate headline might have been: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch Happily Gets into primary fight
Say what you will about Sen. Hatch – he recognized what he was facing and has done a pretty remarkable job of turning his fortunes around in a pretty short amount of time.
The bad news for those who opposed Hatch in the convention is that if they couldn’t beat him there, they aren’t going to beat him anywhere.