Republican voters in Utah picked lawyer Mike Lee as the party’s nominee to replace U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, according to the Associated Press.
Lee, 39, defeated businessman Tim Bridgewater, 49, and will likely become state’s next senator. Heavily Republican Utah hasn’t elected a Democrat to the chamber in 40 years.
Lee had 51 percent of the vote in yesterday’s primary to Bridgewater’s 49 percent, with 80 percent of precincts reporting, according to AP.
Bennett, a three-term Republican, was rejected for re-nomination at the state party’s convention in May. He drew opposition from conservatives who criticized his vote for the 2008 bank bailout and a Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003 that increased the federal budget deficit.
Bennett, 76, endorsed Bridgewater after his defeat.
The winner faces Democratic nominee Sam Granato, a small business owner, in November’s general election.