Veteran US Lawmakers Defeat Party Challengers

Posted June 27th, 2012 at 3:50 am (UTC-5)
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Two veteran U.S. congressional lawmakers have survived strong challengers in their respective primary elections.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah defeated former state senator Dan Liljenquist in Tuesday's primary vote. Liljenquist, who was backed by the conservative Tea Party movement, won enough votes at the state Republican nomination convention to face Hatch in the primary. But he was outspent by Hatch, a 78-year-old incumbent who was first elected to the Senate in 1976. The veteran senator avoided the fate of his Senate colleague, Robert Bennett, who was upset by a Tea Party-backed opponent in 2010.

In New York City, 82-year-old Democratic Representative Charles Rangel beat back four challengers Tuesday in his bid for a 22nd term in the House of Representatives. Rangel was forced to step down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means committee in 2010 after he was found guilty of numerous ethics violations, including failure to pay taxes.

''This is not the first time my community has rallied behind me … when some of the most severe charges have been made against me in the past…was my community. There's so much that has to be done in this country in my community, and I'm just glad my community has great confidence in me doing it.''

Rangel has represented New York's African-American Harlem neighborhood since 1971, but his district is now majority Hispanic population after it was redrawn by state lawmakers.

Both Hatch and Rangel are expected to easily win their respective campaigns in the November general election.