More importantly, can Democrats afford to play in Texasí multiple media markets? After all, the party has other financial priorities with so many incumbents up for re-election.
Hatch is doing his best to remind Republicans of the conservative record heís gathered over 34 years in office. The six-term Senatorís campaign is all-systems-go with nine months left before the state GOP convention, where 3,500 locally elected delegates will vote on their nominee.
Thatís where former Sen. Bob Bennett (R) met his political fate last year, blindsided by a tea party movement whose force had not yet been proved. But Hatchís campaign is working at the local level to get supporters elected as delegates to the convention.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) and conservative outside groups including the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks continue to slam Hatchís record and are actively working to oust him from the Senate. Those groups are organizing to get anti-Hatch delegates sent to the convention as well.
Chaffetz is likely to run, but he wonít announce his candidacy until after Labor Day. Heíll need to kick his fundraising into a higher gear if he does run. Hatch turned in another strong quarter, raising $1.3 million and boosting his war chest to $3.4 million.
Chaffetz raised $124,000 from April to June and had just $227,000 in the bank at the end of the quarter. Those are fine figures for a House re-election campaign, but he would need serious cash for a Senate race.
In the background is a potentially competitive general election challenge by Rep. Jim Matheson (D). He hasnít announced his plans yet, but even with polling showing Matheson with the lead, itís hard to see how Democrats win a seat in a state that hasnít elected a Democratic Senator since 1970.