National media abuzz about Orrin Hatch's caucus performance

Published: Friday, March 16 2012 3:27 p.m. MDT

Karmel Larson, left, talks with Risa Bakker, center, and Heather Turner during a GOP caucus meeting at Lone Peak High School in Highland. Thousands turned out at their Republican Party neighborhood caucus meetings around Utah, Thursday, March 15, 2012.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

Several national media outlets such as CNN, Politico and the New York Times are running headlines today reporting that Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election campaign received extensive support Thursday night during more than 2,000 caucus meetings organized by the Utah Republican Party.

"Despite opposition from within the Republican base, initial results from Thursday night's Utah party caucuses indicate Sen. Orrin Hatch may survive efforts to derail his six-term incumbency," Ashley Killough blogged for CNN. "While the numbers will not be finalized until late Friday night, the veteran senator's campaign came out of the contest feeling confident, saying the results 'look very good.'"

"Supporters of Mr. Hatch turned up in strong numbers at some packed Republican caucus meetings around the state, where delegates were elected to next month’s state party convention," Kirk Johnson reported for the New York Times from a caucus meeting in Pleasant Grove. "And here in Utah County, a deeply conservative area in the backyard of Brigham Young University, and hotbed of anti-Hatch sentiment, some prominent opponents of the senator failed to win delegate seats."

Politico blogger David Cantanese used Thursday's caucuses as a lens for delineating the differences between Hatch's ongoing campaign and the unsuccessful re-election bid of Utah's junior senator, Sen. Bob Bennett, in 2010.

"Two years ago, after delegates unceremoniously dumped Sen. Bob Bennett at their state convention, it was clear that their next target was Hatch. … (But) Hatch's team recognized the potential threat as early as 2010 and became so well organized that they prevented Hatch's main opponent (Dan Liljenquist) from scoring a delegate in his own district (in Bountiful)."

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