Tea Party Fervor Ousts Utah Senator Bob Bennett

Incumbent loses GOP nod amid anti-incumbent mood
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2010 5:00 PM CDT
U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, R-Utah, speaks at the 2010 Utah GOP Convention Saturday in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)
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(Newser) – The first incumbent goes down: Utah Senator Bob Bennett lost his bid for the Republican nomination today amid fierce anti-Washington sentiment, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The 18-year incumbent lost his chance to run for a fourth term to a conservative candidate backed by the Tea Party, Mike Lee, and to businessman Tim Bridgewater. Voting will continue to determine which of those two gets the party nod. Asked if he were the Tea Party's first victim, Bennett replied, "I have no idea," reports Politico.

Bennett, a confidante of Mitch McConnell, took heat during the campaign for co-sponsoring a bipartisan measure requiring people to buy health insurance and for supporting the first round of the bank bailout. An appearance at the state convention today by Mitt Romney—"With the sweep and arrogance of the liberal onslaught today in Washington, we need Bob Bennett's skill and loyalty and power," he said—wasn't enough to save him.

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