Poll: Sen. Hatch could lose re-nomination

Steven Nelson Associate Editor
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A seventh term may not be in the cards for Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. According to a poll conducted by Utah Policy, Hatch could quite possibly lose a Republican primary election in 2012.

In a hypothetical three-way race for the Republican nomination, moderate former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman would receive 48 percent and current Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz 23 percent of the vote, leaving Hatch with only 21 percent.

Local Utah news station KSL reports that Chaffetz said in reaction, “The only poll that will matter is of Utah state delegates in May of 2012.”

In September, speculation about a potential Chaffetz challenge to Hatch led to a claim, by Hatch, that Chaffetz had promised him that he wouldn’t run for Senate in 2012.

“Jason has been with me right in my office and said that he’s not going to run against me, and made it very, very clear,” Hatch said to Utah-based radio station KCPW.

Chaffetz denied ever making such a promise, telling the Salt Lake Tribune, “I have no idea what he’s thinking about… I told him I wasn’t going to run against Bob Bennett. Wrong senator.”

A former Huntsman spokesperson gave KSL few hints regarding the former governor’s plans for 2012. Huntsman is currently serving as ambassador to China and is rumored to be a possible contender for the presidency in 2012.