(WASHINGTON) — Two Capitol Hill stalwarts — a conservative senator and a liberal congressman — easily won their respective primaries on Tuesday, fending off what were viewed as the toughest challenges of their careers.
In Utah, Republican Orrin Hatch, a U.S. senator for six terms, defeated the Tea Party-supported Dan Liljenquist by a two-to-one margin.
There were questions earlier this year about whether Hatch would win the GOP nomination, as the Tea Party seemed intent on replacing him with a candidate to the far right even though Hatch’s conservative credentials were impeccable.
However, Hatch’s base rallied for him and the senator’s war chest of $7 million was no match for Liljenquist, who had less than $1 million to spend. Hatch is expected to cruise to re-election in November.
Meanwhile in New York City, Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel had no problem beating state Sen. Adriano Espaillat even as his 15th District in Harlem was melded into the mostly Latino 13th District.
Rangel, seeking his 22nd term in the House, is normally considered a lock to win the Democratic primary but this redistricting, along with ethics issues, posed a threat to his long tenure.
In December 2010, Rangel became the first congressman in nearly three decades to be censured after an ethics committee found him guilty of 11 charges, including improperly raising money for a college, failing to disclose investments and failing to pay taxes on his villa in the Dominican Republic, among other things.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Daniella Diaz, CNN
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Dan Merica and Sophie Tatum, CNN
Eric Bradner, Dana Bash and MJ Lee, CNN