(MSNBC) Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch accomplished Tuesday night what few other veteran Republican senators have done in recent years, managing to fend off a primary challenge from his right.

The Associated Press declared Hatch the projected winner of the Utah Republican Senate nomination, emerging victorious in the first primary the veteran senator had faced since first being elected in 1976.

Conservatives had targeted Hatch for defeat this cycle, throwing their support behind state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, who hoped the Tea Party wave that has caused heartburn for establishment Republicans would carry him to victory versus Hatch.

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