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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sen. Orrin Hatch
News roundup: Could BYU win hurt Hatch's turnout?

Could BYU's win hurt Hatch? Dems turnout in droves. Hatch's last run.

Happy Wednesday. BYU's win last night against Iona guaranteed the Cougars a spot in the NCAA Big Dance, but could it also endanger Sen. Orrin Hatch's chances at re-election? BYU is now slated to play Thursday afternoon, adding to an already sports-filled day with the Utah Jazz taking the court at home at 7 p.m. -- the same time as Republicans begin their caucuses in Utah.

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-> Basketball doesn't often play into the political arena but in this case, some Republicans might stay at home to watch the games rather than head to a neighborhood meeting, a point that could hinder some long-time Hatch supporters from making their voices heard. The Cougs play at 12:45 p.m. Mountain Time, so fans could catch the second half and still head to their caucus. We're guessing Hatch is rooting for BYU, the Jazz and himself on Thursday.

Topping the news: Sen. Hatch says if he's re-elected this year, he'll let it be his last lap in Congress, officially relinquishing the prospect of an 8th term in 2018. [Trib]

-> Utah Democrats showed up in force last night at their caucuses to select 2,500 delegates to represent them at the state convention in April. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [APviaABC4] [UtahPolicy]

-> Sen. Mike Lee hints at voting against a judicial nominee from his own state out of frustration with Majority Leader Harry Reid's move to force confirmation votes on a series of federal court hopefuls. [Trib]

Happy Birthday: To Rep. Jason Chaffetz' wife, Julie, and to Julian Babbitt.

Tweets of the day: From @RobertGehrke: "Gotta say, BYU's comeback was epic, as was Iona's choke. The rope-a-dope worked perfectly."

In other news: Gov. Gary Herbert has a tough decision to make on the sex education bill by March 28, and Utahns are doing all they can to sway his vote. [DNews] [Fox13]

-> Amid thousands of Utahns rallying against the sex ed bill, The Eagle Forum lobbying group digs up support of the bill. [CityWeekly]

-> Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop team up at the state Capitol to declare support of the state's initiative to wrest away federal control of Utah's public lands. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaABC4] SUWA says the public will lose if such an idea actually happens. [Fox13]

-> Herbert officially announces his re-election bid, pointing out the economy's confident stride into 2012 as the selling point of his campaign. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The Investor's Business Daily digs up comments from a younger Sen. Hatch saying that in 2012 he'd rather be playing with his grand-kids than running for another term in the Senate. [IBD]

-> Paul Rolly argues that Utah's unique caucus system isn't as politics-free as it appears. [Trib]

-> Former two-term congressman Merrill Cook takes a step back into the limelight as he files for SL. Co Mayor. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley has a beef with red meat. [Trib]

-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz says AG Eric Holder could be in contempt of Congress for withholding documents in the Fast & Furious investigation. [DailyCaller]

2012 Watch: Rick Santorum sweeps Alabama and Mississippi, dashing Newt Gingrich's hopes for a southern comeback. [LATimes]

-> Although losing the southern battle, Romney picks up a few delegates by securing a caucus win in American Samoa. [CNN]

-> Despite losing to Santorum in the south, Romney still hopes to wring out one third of the delegates from Alabama and Mississippi. [WaPost]

-> Gingrich blasts Romney for being "not much of a front runner," holding up the former Massachusetts governor's losses as proof. [ChicagoTrib]

-> Romney lifts his chin to Illinois' primary next Tuesday, the biggest delegate-booster in the upcoming week and a state that could help the candidate regain stride. [WaPost]

-> Ron Paul keeps his strategy of focusing on caucus states, skipping the Southern primaries in favor of boosting his delegate-winning chances in Hawaii. [Houston]

-> After two big losses in the south, Romney pins his hopes on mathematical probability. [HuffPost]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz catches up on office work in Salt Lake City.
  • Gov. Gary Herbert goes to a UBEST/Prosperity 2020 Meeting, makes a stop at the grand opening of the EMC Customer Support Center and then reviews bills.
  • AG Mark Shurtleff travels to Washington, D.C. where he will attend the White House State Dinner with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
  • SL Co. Mayor Peter Corroon attends a media event for N.E.S.T. -- No Empty Seats Today -- an org dedicated to minimizing elementary school absences, then meets with the criminal justice advisory council, and later judges a contest at the Art & Soup event.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker meets with city Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett, then attends meetings with the Olympics exploratory committee and chats about the Sugar House streetcar.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder speaks to the Bonneville Kiwanis Club.
  • President Barack Obama hosts British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com.

-- Thomas Burr and Laura Schmitz


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