|Published:||Feb 11, 2011 9:10 PM EST|
|Updated:||Feb 11, 2011 6:11 PM EST|
WASHINGTON (AP) - Tea party favorite Sen. Mike Lee says he won't endorse fellow Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election in the 2012 GOP primary.
Lee said Friday on MSNBC that he would be neutral in the race until the primary is decided.
Lee's decision was seen as a blow to Hatch, who is seeking tea party support for re-election and is expected to face a conservative primary challenge.
Lee was one of two candidates who drummed former GOP Utah Sen. Bob Bennett out of office last year by besting him in a party convention vote, scoring a victory for the tea party movement.
Hatch was elected to the Senate in 1976.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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