The tea party group FreedomWorks is working hard to eliminate Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) early this year, the group tells TPM, by making sure he doesn’t make it to the final two Republican candidates who can compete in the state’s uniquely structured primary — the same way conservatives defeated longtime incumbent Bob Bennett in 2010.
“The most important thing that unifies the tea party movement right now, and FreedomWorks members, is getting anti-Hatch delegates to show up in March,” said Brendan Steinhauser, who runs FreedomWorks' federal and state campaigns. “If we can do that, we can prevent Hatch from getting the top two slots at the convention. That eliminates him, and the top two candidates go on to the primary. And we can even endorse after the convention.”
“So the main thing is making sure Hatch doesn’t get out of convention,” he added. “If we do that, we’ve already won.”
Hatch won’t be easy to defeat, but hardcore conservatives still haven’t forgiven him for previously backing the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the DREAM Act.