Six-term incumbent and former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Republican Orrin Hatch was re-elected in 2006 with 62% of the vote. He ran for re-election. Though Hatch remains popular with Utahns in general, he was viewed by many in the Utah Republican Party as too moderate, and many names were floated as potential challengers. The name most frequently mentioned was that of conservative Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who had criticized Hatch, but Chaffetz announced on August 22, 2011, that he would not run against Hatch Also frequently mentioned was state Senator Dan Liljenquist. At the Utah Republican Party Caucus held on March 15, 2012, it was determined that state Senator Liljenquist would challenge US Senator Hatch in the June 26, primary. Hatch won the primary election with 66% of the vote.
Among Democrats, Scott Howell, former state Senator and 2000 US Senate nominee, defeated Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission and 2006 nominee for U.S. Senate, in the Utah Democratic Party caucus to secure the nomination to challenge the Utah Republican Party nominee for the US Senate seat currently held by US Senator Orrin Hatch.
Hatch defeated Howell on Election Day November 6, 2012 taking 65.2% of the vote to Howells 30.2%
Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch won re-election to a seventh term against former state Senator and IBM executive, Scott Howell the Democratic candidate.
Before: 2 independents (VT, CT) caucused with the Democrats
After: 2 independents (VT, ME) caucus with the Democrats.
Majority Leader before election
Harry Reid Democratic Party
Elected Majority Leader
Harry Reid Democratic Party
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