According to Utah’s nominating rules, Hatch must earn the support of 3,500 delegates to the April 21 state GOP convention to secure a spot on the June 26 primary ballot. Voting for those delegates will be held March 15 in local precinct caucuses throughout the state, and Hatch and his opponents have been working to elect delegates favorable to their candidacies.
In 2010, Sen. Bob Bennett (R) failed to earn a spot on the statewide GOP primary ballot when he finished third in a vote of Utah GOP convention delegates, effectively ending his career. Hatch, who is running against former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist and state Rep. Chris Herrod, has been working to avoid a similar result.
To advance to the June 26 primary ballot, Hatch must finish at least second in a vote of the Utah GOP convention delegates and hold the first-place finisher to less than 60 percent of the vote. Should Hatch finish first among the delegates with 60 percent or more of the vote, he would proceed to the primary ballot unopposed and be considered a shoo-in for re-election in November.