Sen. Bob Bennett's (R-UT) political life is on the line tomorrow, with a state Republican convention that has the power to deny him even any chance to fight for the GOP nomination in a primary -- and a party base that has been dissatisfied and sees him as being too settled in Washington after three terms.
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Bennett, who for his part has a conservative voting record, has been targeted for defeat by the right for not being conservative enough. In addition to grassroots angst with his vote for the TARPÂ bailout, the Club For Growth has also targeted him for having briefly worked with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on a health care bill, though he ultimately voted against the bill that passed a month and a half ago. At the party caucuses in March, many supporters of challenger candidates won delegate seats for the convention thanks to a heavily increased turnout.
Bennett faces a total of seven challengers at the convention, but three are the most significant: Attorney Mike Lee, businessman Tim Bridgewater, and businesswoman Cherilyn Eagar. A Mason-Dixon poll from two weeks ago, of a sample of convention delegates, gave Lee 37%, Bridgewater 20%, and Bennett only 16%, with Eagar at 11%.