Guy Benson
The Utah Republican Party's right flank retired Bob Bennett in 2010, replacing him with adamant conservative Sen. Mike Lee.  Is Orrin Hatch next?

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) would trail in a hypothetical three-way primary challenge for the GOP Senate nomination in 2012.

Just 26 percent of Utah Republican voters said they would like to see Hatch emerge in a primary between him, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman Jr., the state's former governor.

Thirty percent of GOP voters would vote for Chaffetz, and 40 percent would vote for Huntsman in the hypothetical three-way match-up, according to a UtahPolicy/Exoro poll released Monday.

Hatch has always struck me as a fairly staid, reliable conservative -- his proposed federal intrusions into college football* notwithstanding.  Still, Utah is a deeply conservative place, and if the party faithful think they can secure even redder representation, they may claim another scalp.  (Pardon the dreadfully inflammatory metaphor).

*For the love of all that is great about America, Congress, please stay the hell away from college football.

Guy Benson

Guy Benson is's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography