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Romney Support Hatched

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Monday became the fourth Senator to back the presidential bid of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R). [IMGCAP(1)]

In a statement, Hatch hailed Romney’s leadership abilities, calling him “an innovative problem solver” and noting the candidate’s success as a turnaround artist when the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City were teetering on insolvency. Left unsaid is that both Romney and Hatch are among the most prominent Mormon politicians in the United States.

Hatch joins GOP Sens. Bob Bennett (Utah), Larry Craig (Idaho) and Jim DeMint (S.C.) in Romney’s camp.

Hatch is one of the most experienced conservatives in Congress, and Romney — whose own positions on hot-button issues have evolved since his political career began — may be hoping to associate himself with some of Hatch’s crusades.

“Sen. Hatch is a leading authority on judicial matters and has worked to cut down the size of government and let hardworking Americans keep more of what they earn,” Romney said in a statement.

Dial M for Money. While DeMint and his Palmetto State colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), diverge on the presidential race — DeMint is with Romney, Graham is supporting Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — some of their key financial supporters are sticking together. McCain on Monday released a list of his South Carolina finance team, and the group includes at least seven people who played prominent roles for both Graham when he was elected to the Senate in 2002 and for DeMint when he followed Graham from the House to the Senate in 2004.

The group of 40 financial heavyweights includes: Paula Harper Bethea, a former chairwoman of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce who was on both Senators’ finance teams; Mark Buyck Jr., a lawyer who was co-chairman of DeMint’s finance team and also raised money for Graham; former U.S. Attorney Bart Daniel, who was on both Senators’ finance committees; Eddie Floyd, a surgeon who co-chaired DeMint’s finance team and also raised money for Graham; Wade Kolb Jr., an attorney who served on both Senators’ finance teams; John Rainey, an attorney who was a co-chairman of DeMint’s finance team and was part of Graham’s finance committee; and Tommy Rowland Jr., a retired physician who raised money for both men.

— Josh Kurtz