ByÂ Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call
Utah Sen.Â Orrin Hatch escaped a top-tier intraparty opponent last week, but itâ€™s still highly likely he will be challenged at next yearâ€™s state GOP convention.
Rep.Â Jason Chaffetzâ€™s decision last week not to run against his fellow Republican threw a wrench in the gears of the anti-Hatch factions in Utah and in Washington, D.C. Chaffetz, a second-term Congressman, was viewed as having the best shot to end Hatchâ€™s 35-year run in the Senate. But conservatives and tea party groups are not throwing in the towel.
â€œI do thinkÂ Orrin Hatch will face opposition from the far right tea party groups,â€ GOP consultant LaVarr Webb said. â€œWe donâ€™t know who that will be yet, but there are several people considering running.â€
The Club for Growth had been openly recruiting Chaffetz to the race, but the conservative anti-tax group remains committed to ousting Hatch.
â€œWe continue to believe that Utah Republicans can do better than a big government bailout supporter like Sen.Â Orrin Hatch,â€ club spokesman Barney Keller said.
Webbâ€™s daily newsletter for political junkies, UtahPolicy.com, quoted Utah tea party organizer David Kirkham in an interview Tuesday saying he is â€œvery seriouslyâ€ considering challenging Hatch. But the car-restoration business owner is waiting to make any decisions until after his companyâ€™s annual event on Sept. 10.
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