Hatch not taking sides in race to replace Bennett

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) Tuesday would not say which candidate he supports to replace his ousted colleague, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah).

Delegates at the state GOP convention this weekend did not select the three-term senator to appear on the primary ballot, meaning that political newcomers Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater will vie for the party's nomination.

Observers say Bennett's stunning defeat is a further sign incumbents will be in trouble this fall.

"Either one of them would be a good senator and I have to go by what the population says," Hatch said on MSNBC.

The senior senator said that he too would have trouble winning reelection in this political climate.

"If I would have been up this year, it would be difficult for anybody," he said.

Hatch lamented the loss of his colleague, saying he "felt very badly for Sen. Bennett."

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room