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Outside Group Launches TV Ad Supporting Orrin Hatch

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo

A third-party group is airing a TV ad in Utah supporting Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is being challenged for re-election by a fellow Republican.

Freedom Path, a 501(c)(4), is spending about $100,000 on the ad, which is running for three weeks on broadcast and cable, according to a source with knowledge of the buy.

While other conservative outside groups hammer Hatch from the right, this ad touts Hatch's attempt to repeal health care reform.

"Utah's Orrin Hatch has sponsored a bill to repeal it," the ad's announcer says. "Declaring Obamacare unconstitutional, Senator Hatch has personally signed a brief to have the courts nullify it. Orrin Hatch, leading the conservative charge to repeal Obamacare. Tell to him to keep fighting for our shared values."

A previous ad, aired last summer, tied Hatch to fellow Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who is affiliated with the tea party and upset Hatch's former Senate colleague, Bob Bennett, in 2010.

"Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee have authored the Balanced Budget Amendment — legislation forcing Congress and the president to balance the budget every year and stop spending money we don't have," the previous ad's announcer said. "Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee — Utah conservatives leading the fight to stop runaway spending."

According to its website, Freedom Path “is committed to promoting causes that strictly recognize the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all Americans in the greatest political document ever conceived — the United States Constitution.”

State Sen. Dan Liljenquist officially entered the race for the Republican nomination earlier this month and is likely Hatch’s biggest threat. Outside groups, including the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, have also been targeting Hatch for months and were in search of a conservative alternative to the six-term incumbent.

The nomination could be decided at the April 21 state party convention, where 3,500 locally elected delegates will vote for a nominee. Unless someone takes 60 percent of the delegate vote, the top two finishers will advance to the primary.

David M. Drucker contributed to this report.

Correction: Jan. 26, 2012

An earlier version of this story linked to and described last summer's ad.

Watch the ad:

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