Chaffetz won't challenge Hatch
Here's the breaking report from Politico
After publicly dangling the prospect for months, GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz was set to announce Monday he won't challenge Sen. Orrin Hatch next year, removing a menacing threat to the six-term senator's reelection prospects.
Chaffetz told POLITICO he decided a costly, high-profile Senate campaign would detract from his policy goals — namely curtailing government spending and helping return the country to a fiscally sustainable path.
"I can spend the next 15 months campaigning to do Orrin Hatch's job, or I can just do my job," Chaffetz said. "There comes a point and a question: Do you want to spend all your time campaigning in a multimillion-dollar blood bath or do your job and be successful? Ultimately, I think that's a path that makes the most sense for me."
While Chaffetz's decision caught many political watchers off guard, several Utah insiders said that the telegenic second-term congressman must have calculated that upending Hatch was no sure bet.
Politico also reports that Hatch may still face a primary challenge.
Even with Chaffetz on the sidelines, Hatch will likely face a convention challenge.
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Utah GOP insiders agree it could come from state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, a 37-year-old father of six first elected in 2008.
"We have such a unique system that you can get in late and still do well. We'll make our decision later this fall," he said. "What I'm interested in is leadership on entitlement reform, and so far I haven't seen that leadership in the Senate."
Liljenquist told POLITICO Chaffetz's decision had no impact on his own. Hartley, however, said the development would almost definitely prompt Liljenquist into the race.
"Liljenquist will get in the race. Hatch won't go unchallenged but Chaffetz was a much stronger challenger than anyone else just because the delegates liked Chaffetz," Hartley said.
Kirkham agreed that Hatch would still face a challenge, and that Liljenquist would face steeper odds.