Sen. Orrin Hatch beats back Tea Party challenge
Sen. Orrin Hatch / Getty Images
(AP) SALT LAKE CITY - U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch has won Utah's Republican primary.
Hatch faced former Utah state Sen. Dan Liljenquist in Tuesday's race.
Hatch barely missed his party's outright nomination at Utah's April GOP convention, winning 59.2 percent of delegate votes. He needed 60 percent to avoid a runoff.
Hatch emphasized his experience and potential placement as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee if he won. Liljenquist made the case that his challenger has used his influence for wasteful earmarks, and the state senator had proved popular with Tea Party supporters.
Liljenquist's campaign hoped to capitalize on some of the momentum that saw the ouster of three-term GOP Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010, fueled by a tea party surge that was much less united this time.
Hatch now heads to November seeking his seventh term, which he says will be his last.
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