Hatch: 'I'm a tough guy,' says he doesn't fear a GOP re-election challenge
February 8th, 2011
11:53 PM ET
4 years ago

Hatch: 'I'm a tough guy,' says he doesn't fear a GOP re-election challenge

Washington (CNN) - Who's afraid of a big, bad re-election challenge from inside his own party?

Sen. Orrin Hatch says, he's not.

Amid rumblings that the Utah Republican may face intra-party challenges as he readies for re-election to a seventh term, Hatch said, "I've always had convention challenges."

Hatch spoke to reporters after participating in a Tea Party town hall on Tuesday at the National Press Club.

Reporters asked the senator whether he fears suffering the same fate as Bob Bennett. A senator for three terms, Bennett was denied a fourth partly at the hands of Tea Party activists.

"Well, I'm not Sen. Bennett," Hatch said. "You know, he's a great guy and all that. But I'm a tough guy."

Some Tea Party activists claim Hatch is not a reliable conservative. They cite some of his votes, such as for TARP, and his collaborating with Democrats, at times.

Regarding his vote for the bank bailout, Hatch said, "At the time, I bought off on the fact that it might help prevent a depression. And many people argued it would. Most economists argued that it would. I feel sorry I voted for it though. I really shouldn't have voted for it."

As for reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats, a poison pill to many committed conservative activists, Hatch said that he would continue to do so, with conditions.

"Let's just be frank about it. You can't get anything done if you don't have some people, who in good faith, work together," he said. "Whenever I've worked with them, they've always had to come my way: to the center right."

"I will always look for the good. But I'm as tough as nails when they try to do things that aren't good and aren't right," he added. "If they don't know that – get real."

Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN


Filed under: Orrin Hatch • Tea Party movement
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Terry P

    Hatch represents himself and his tight buddies – not Utah. He is a prime example of why term limits are necessary. Not following voters wishes will get you fired, evenually.

    February 9, 2011 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    That is why Orrin pranced over to a bagger event, and talked trash against government doing anything for people, as that would be an infringement on liberty. He is not afraid, yeah, right. He is scared to death.

    February 9, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  3. Clwyd

    Orrin, your brains and wisdom have been shown over the years over the new breed of nuts on the right side of the republican party. Teabuggers= ignorance and racism! along with plain stupidity. Look what they did last night to the vote on the Patriot Act! All thought it should have been deemed Un-Contitutional when it was first passe!1

    February 9, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Orrin addresses the baggers, but leaves out every one of his republican votes for big government. (Patriot Act, TARP, drug program, etc) As a repub, he will also vote for a federal agent in every woman's bedroom as big government is OK if it is to be used against one segment of the population.

    February 9, 2011 07:57 am at 7:57 am |