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