SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Sen. Robert Bennett was defeated Saturday in his bid for re-election, making the three-term Republican lawmaker the first congressional incumbent to fall in this angry election season.
Bennett, who upset many conservative activists with his willingness to work across party lines, became the first Utah senator denied renomination in 70 years.
More broadly, his defeat at the state GOP convention made him a symbol of the festering anti-Washington, anti-establishment sentiment coursing through the country.
"He's had his chance," said Nick Whitehead, 17, a volunteer who greeted delegates at the convention center with a giant placard touting businessman Tim Bridgewater, one of seven Bennett rivals.
"It's time for new blood."
Bennett, 76, whose father served four terms in the Senate, was not particularly unpopular among the bulk of Utah Republicans.
He fell victim, however, to the state's unusual nomination process, which placed the choice in the hands of the most conservative -- and most agitated -- activists in one of the reddest states in the country.
Bennett, a conservative by most yardsticks, ran afoul of many at the party grass roots by supporting the 2008 Wall Street bailout, which he deemed necessary to save the economy.
He also ran into trouble by working with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon on a health care bill that would have required Americans to purchase insurance.