Sen. Bennett's good news/bad news Monday

Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) had some good news/bad news Monday.

First, the bad news.

The Club for Growth spent $120,000 in the final three weeks leading up to the March 23rd local caucuses in an attempt to help oust the senator, according to the Desert News.

The fiscally conservative group has targeted Bennett this cycle.

"We spent nearly half of our spending on things we hoped would drive up caucus turnout,"  club executive director David Keating told the News. "Our theory was that new caucus-goers would not be friendly to Bennett."

The state nominating convention is May 8. If Bennett doesn't garner 60 percent of the delegates's votes, the nomination will be decided in a June 22 primary. He has seven Republicans challenging him for the nomination. The March local caucuses picked the delegates that will go to the state convention, but the delegates were not required to pledge their support to a specific candidate, making it difficult to gauge Bennett's chances.

Bennett told the News being a target is a double-edged sword, saying some of the Club's charges stick but others cause a backlash.

"I have also had individuals come up to me and say, 'I am so offended at this outside group coming into Utah telling me how to vote that I will be in solid for you just in protest of that,'" Bennett told the paper.

But there was some good news for the three-term senator.

Bennett had fellow Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch singing his praises Monday.

Hatch told a crowd at Utah Valley University that Bennett's seniority makes him a powerful presence for the state, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Hatch pointed out that Bennett is set to become the ranking member (or chairman if the Republicans win the Senate) of the Senate Banking Committee. Hatch is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which gives Utah an edge on two of the chamber's most powerful committees.

"It is up to the people of Utah to make the decision, but it would be a mistake to send a message by causing a senator in a respected position of power to end his service because we're mad," Hatch said.

Bennett, meanwhile, continues to campaign for the delegates's support. "Enjoying meeting with delegates across the state," he tweeted Monday.

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