Hatch below primary threshold. MSNBC host attacks Mormonism. Utah's lottery sales.
Happy Friday. A new poll out by a pro-Orrin Hatch political action committee shows the Republican senator below the 60 percent threshold that he needs to avoid a primary runoff. The new poll of Utah GOP delegates puts the senator 10 points down from his own campaign poll last week and includes a pitch to donate to the Strong Utah PAC, "the official Super PAC supporting Senator Orrin Hatch." [Politico]
Topping the news: Now that he's the expected GOP nominee, Mitt Romney faces a "whole new world" of tighter security, bigger crowds and larger team. [AP]
-> Meanwhile, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell goes after Romney's Mormon faith, saying founder Joseph Smith "invented" the religion to cover for an affair. [Newsbusters]
-> Utah may ban lottery sales, but $1 of every $5 spent on tickets in Idaho comes from a town near the Utah state line. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @adavidmerrill: "Jason Chaffetz noting his bi-partisan immigration bill says Senate 'in between the bingo nights and wheelchair races' might get to it."
Happy birthday: To state Rep. Neil Hansen, Utah GOP National Committeeman Bruce Hough and state Sen. Karen Mayne.
In other news: Although they disagree about immigration, AG Mark Shurtleff endorses Carl Wimmer in the 4th District congressional race -- but Shurtleff makes clear Wimmer needs to change his stance on the issue over time. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly argues that Drew Chamberlain is hypocritical after suing his own party for awarding automatic delegates, when this year he became ... an automatic delegate. [Trib]
-> The LDS Church's media holdings get a new boss, this time a former church leader steps in. [DNews]
-> The BLM approves thousands of wells to be opened up for drilling in the Uinta Basin and several groups are calling it a "win-win scenario." [Trib]
-> A southern Utah activist is urging the state to step up its radon watch, telling the Utah Air Quality Board that state regulators haven't carried out basic duties in handling cancer-causing radon emissions from uranium mines. [Trib]
-> KCPW's Jeff Robinson talks to The Trib's Thomas Burr about the Politico e-book detailing the secrets of the presidential campaign. [KCPW]
2012 Watch: Michael B. Keegan argues that despite Sen. Hatch's claim that the left will attack Mitt Romney's Mormon faith, it's the right wing that's already done so. [HuffPost]
-> Mitt Romney adds a former RNC chairman to his campaign staff to help prep the presidential candidate on general election and convention planning. [Globe]
-> Rick Santorum kicks off his effort to take his home state of Pennsylvania, emphasizing his grandfather's coal-mining roots and telling reporters "we have to win here." [BHerald]
-> Newt Gingrich's health care think tank -- the Center for Health Transformation -- files for bankruptcy after having up to $10 million in liabilities but only $100,000 in assets. [AP]
-> With his eyes on the presidential race, Ron Paul has missed out on 92 House votes as a Texas representative. [TheHill]
-> Romney takes advantage of an exception in federal ethics laws to keep the nature and extent of his holdings to himself. [SeattleTimes]
-> Jon Huntsman's daughter, Abby Livingston, says her dad won't be involved with Romney's general election campaign, though she says the former Utah governor still stands by his endorsement of the presidential candidate. [ABCNews]
Where are they?
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-- Thomas Burr and Laura Schmitz
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