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Shurtleff Launches Bid Against Utah’s Bennett

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) launched his 2010 primary challenge to three-term Sen. Bob Bennett (R) on Wednesday at a press conference at the Utah Capitol building.He also sent the announcement to his supporters via Twitter. “Time to stop the bailouts. Just launched my campaign for US Senate & restore fiscal responsibility in DC,— Shurtleff wrote. “Please donate at—In recent months Shurtleff — who won a third term as attorney general last year and isn’t up for re-election until 2012 — has criticized Bennett for being a key Republican voice during passage of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill last October. Considering the strong conservative backlash against that piece of legislation, some Utah Republicans have said that the Shurtleff might gain traction in a primary if he successfully paints Bennett as a Washington insider.A National Research Inc. poll of 300 likely primary voters conducted earlier this month for Shurtleff showed the two men would begin the race in essentially a dead heat. Shurtleff also held a 78 percent/6 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. Bennett’s rating was 74 percent favorable to 19 percent unfavorable. The poll had a 6-point margin of error.That poll was in the field before Bennett’s camp launched an ad featuring former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney — whose family has strong ties to the state and who is extremely popular there — expressing his support for Bennett.

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