Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee Says He Won't Back Orrin Hatch in GOP Senate Primary


thehill
Sen. Mike Lee (R) said Friday that he wouldn't endorse fellow Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) for reelection in the 2012 GOP Senate primary.

Lee, a freshman senator allied with the conservative Tea Party movement, said he would stay neutral in the Republican primary, paving the way for a conservative challenger to Hatch.

"It's not my intention to support any candidate until the democratic process has had a chance to play itself out in Utah," Lee said on MSNBC.

Lee's decision not to endorse Hatch speaks volumes about the political danger Hatch faces in 2012. The veteran GOP senator is expected to face a primary challenge from his right, and there's active precedent that a challenger could succeed; Lee, after all, succeeded in wresting the Republican nomination from veteran Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) in a primary race last year.
Mike Lee on the Morning Rundown asked by Chuck Todd if he will support Orrin Hatch in the GOP Primary