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."
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