In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Utah's Tea Party Senator Not Ready To Endorse Orrin Hatch


So you endorse him for reelection then? I asked.

"I look forward to him joining," Lee said.

Hatch's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hatch wasn't at the official rollout of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, which was created by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and currently consists of Paul, Lee, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).

Paul's office did not immediately respond to a question about Hatch's status with the caucus either.

Several tea party-backed senators -- like Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) -- declined to join the caucus. And other than DeMint, no veteran senators have joined so far.

Lee seems to think Hatch is about to sign on, and he suggests that Hatch joining would go a long way toward convincing Utah tea partiers he's one of them.