The Tea Party movement is taking aim at Republican incumbents, including Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine, and Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts. Will it succeed in unseating them?
Orrin Hatch is conservative by almost any measure, but these days that’s not enough to shield him from the right. There’s a credible challenger in the wings and a real possibility that the Utah senator could become the first establishment casualty of the 2012 season.
The Tea Party movement first demonstrated its clout last year by knocking off Hatch’s Utah colleague, Bob Bennett. Now the movement’s activists have served notice that they are displeased with several big-name Republican senators. Hatch, like most of them, is cultivating the grassroots, moving rightward, and hoping to fend off a serious primary challenger.
It’s already too late for that in Indiana, where state treasurer Richard Mourdock is taking on Richard Lugar. And it may be too late for Hatch, who could well face Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a self-described “definite maybe” who will decide after Labor Day whether to run. Others drawing conservative scrutiny and complaints are Olympia Snowe of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Bob Corker of Tennessee.
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