The conservative Tea Party movement has blocked a three-term Republican senator from Utah, Bob Bennett, in his bid for re-election.
Sen Bennett came third at a Republican Party convention in Salt Lake City.
The two challengers, one backed by the Tea Party, will face each other in a primary next month for the right to contest November’s Midterm elections.
It is the first major victory for the grassroots movement that objects to big government and opposes high spending.
Sen Bennett was criticised by Tea Party activists for supporting the Wall Street bail-out, co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill mandating health insurance coverage and aggressively seeking funding “earmarks” for his state.
“The political atmosphere obviously has been toxic and it’s very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment,” he told reporters after Saturday’s convention vote.
“Looking back on them, with one or two very minor exceptions, I wouldn’t have cast any of them any differently even if I had known at the time they were going to cost me my career.”
Sen Bennett is barred by state law from running as an independent, but he has not ruled out standing as a write-in candidate – whose name does not appear on the ballot and so must be written on the ballot by the voters.
“I do think I still have a lot of juice left in me,” he added.
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Article courtesy bbc.co.uk