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Bennett Won’t Mount Write-In Campaign

Utah Sen. Bob Bennett said Thursday that he will not mount a write-in campaign this fall after losing earlier this month at the state GOP nominating convention.

“I will not run a write-in campaign for a Senate race in Utah,” Bennett told reporters gathered at National Senatorial Campaign Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Bennett said this cycle brought “the nastiest race that we have had for a party nomination in the history of the state of Utah.”

He blamed outside groups for coming into the state and helping to make the atmosphere “completely toxic.” And while his supporters have encouraged him to run and shown him favorable polling data, Bennett said he had come to the conclusion that launching a write-in campaign would likely stir up that anger and leave wounds that could divide the party and state for months, if not years.

Bennett said he was confident he could pull out a victory with a write-in campaign but acknowledged it would probably be a close race under the circumstances.

“All the times I have held the seat I have felt a very strong support.” Bennett said. “Holding the seat by a relatively narrow margin … would be far less attractive to me for the next six years.”

Bennett did not offer his endorsement of either Tim Bridgewater or Mike Lee, the Republicans running in the June 22 primary.

“I’ve made a firm decision not to make a decision,” he said.

NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) has said the committee will back the eventual nominee.

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