Senator Orrin G. Hatch [Wikipedia] survived a test from nine challengers at the Republican Party state convention on Saturday, winning a majority of the votes but failing just short of the margin needed to avoid a primary election against a well-known and established opponent.
In the first round of voting, on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Hatch got just over 57 percent of the delegate support ”” first place, but not enough to secure the nomination outright, which required 60 percent. A businessman and former state senator, Dan Liljenquist, got about 28 percent of the vote in the first round.
A second round of voting to decide between Mr. Hatch and Mr. Liljenquist also failed to resolve the issue. Mr. Hatch got just over 59 percent the second time, thus forcing a primary election between him and Mr. Liljenquist. In heavily Republican Utah, the Republican nomination effectively decides the election.
”œNo one senator is too big to fail,” Mr. Liljenquist told the nearly 4,000 delegates who met in a convention hall here in this suburb of Salt Lake City, urging them to reject Mr. Hatch.
Mr. Hatch, a six-term veteran of the United States Senate, fired back, speaking last before the voting began. He said that experience and ”œthe respect of both sides,” is what gets things done in Washington, not wild claims and promises.
”œI’m a tough old bird,” he said. ”œI’ve never felt more eager, more excited, or more energized.” During his second speech, before the second round of voting, his voice cracked with emotion, ”œI need you,” he told the delegates.
Senator Hatch was not the only incumbent facing challengers. Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who took office in 2009, filling a vacancy when the former governor, and former presidential hopeful, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., resigned to become United States ambassador to China, faced challengers from his right as well.
From the Wikipedia link:
In 1976 in his first run for public office, he was elected to the United States Senate, defeating Democrat Frank Moss, a three-term incumbent. Among other issues, Hatch criticized Moss’s 18-year tenure in the Senate, saying “What do you call a Senator who’s served in office for 18 years? You call him home.”