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Hatch Is Latest GOP Contender

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch officially entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination, filing a statement of candidacy Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

By registering with the FEC, Hatch will be required to regularly disclose contributions and expenditures. Like many of the other GOP presidential hopefuls, however, Hatch is calling his campaign committee an Â"exploratory committee.Â"

The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman announced last month that he planned to enter the already crowded GOP presidential field.

Hatch acknowledged the strength of Republican front-runner George W. Bush, but said he wanted to be available in case the Texas governor stumbles.

Â"It's not good to have a juggernaut in the party,Â" Hatch said in a telephone interview Thursday. Â"It's healthy to have some competition and I plan to provide that.Â"

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