Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) “said Friday that he wouldn’t endorse fellow Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) for reelection in the 2012 GOP Senate primary,” The Hill reports.
Lee, a freshman senator allied with the conservative Tea Party movement, said he would stay neutral in the Republican primary, paving the way for a conservative challenger to Hatch.
“It’s not my intention to support any candidate until the democratic process has had a chance to play itself out in Utah,” Lee said on MSNBC.
Lee said he “wishes Hatch well, but was pointed in refusing to say he would endorse his colleague for reelection.”
“That’s not up to me, that’s up to the voters of Utah once we get into 2012,” Lee explained, adding that he could “absolutely endorse” Hatch — if he emerges victorious from a Republican primary.