Last night, incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) easily bested a tea party-backed primary challenge from Dan Liljenquist, getting 66% of the vote to his 33%.
Hatch’s win came on the heels of a huge fundraising advantage. He raised $9,709,238 and spent $10,151,378 during the campaign cycle, while Liljenquist raised $778,362 and spent only $614,638.
Interestingly, 40 percent of the incumbent senator’s funds came from Political Action Committees (PACs), while Liljenquist raised virtually no PAC cash. The only strong outside interest group backing the challenger was FreedomWorks, but that group spent only roughly $900,000 on his behalf.
Corporations and K Street in particular lined up …
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is one of Congress’s most loyal allies of Big Money. Earlier this year, he championed the “anti-piracy” legislation that would give the government huge internet censorship powers on behalf powerful entertainment and media corporations.
As a result, Smith faced a primary challenge from a former local Sherrif, Richard Mack. Mack is a national Tea Party leader who made opposition to internet censorship legislation a top-line issue in his campaign.
But Big Money soon closed ranks around Smith, working to kill off the Tea Party challenge. Smith raised $1.3 million for his reelection bid, while …