Bennett Will Back Bridgewater

After being denied his party's nomination for reelection to the Senate, Bob Bennett will support one of the two rivals that basically ended his political career last month.

Bennett will endorse businessman Tim Bridgewater, according to the Salt Lake Tribune (via Hotline OnCall's Reid Wilson). Bridgewater faces attorney Mike Lee in a June 22 primary.

The incumbent senator was booted from the Republican ticket at the party's state convention on May 9, as Bridgewater and Lee knocked him out in the second round of voting. Bennett was helped by Mitt Romney, who attended the convention to campaign for him, but to no avail; the senator collected only 26.59% of votes from delegates selected in statewide caucuses earlier this year. it was the first time in 70 years that Utah Republicans had dumped the incumbent in a Senate race.

Bridgewater is probably the favorite, having beaten Lee at the convention 57% to 43%. But it's unclear whether Bennett's endorsement is a good thing; Utah Republican caucus-goers, and then the delegates they elected at those caucuses, rejected Bennett quite forcefully. There was a good deal of anti-Bennett sentiment, divided up among his challengers; if all that energy was simply anti-Bennett, rather than pro-Bridgewater or Lee, it's questionable whether Bennett's endorsement will be a boon or a burden.