Today Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch failed to secure the 60% delegate vote needed to lock up the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. He will face off against State Sen. Dan Liljenquist in a GOP primary. This is a huge victory for Utah Tea Party activists.

Deseret News:

With 59.19 percent of the vote, Hatch fell just shy of winning the Republican nomination outright at the state GOP convention. Delegates gave Liljenquist 40.81 percent of the vote in the second round of balloting. Candidates need 60 percent of the delegate vote win the nomination without a primary runoff.

Hatch calls his loss a tremendous victory:

https://twitter.com/#!/mattklewis/status/193788013938098176

https://twitter.com/#!/billyhesterman/status/193795485310517248

Riiiiight.

Meanwhile, his staff is putting up a brave face:

https://twitter.com/#!/jbpoersch/status/193791456803164160

Twitter reaction ranged from happy to orgasmic:

https://twitter.com/#!/lakemillsright/status/193787795196743680

https://twitter.com/#!/nlasmus/status/193787592683175936

https://twitter.com/#!/jimgeraghty/status/193777462889558016

https://twitter.com/#!/ahh2fly/status/193779664664268800

https://twitter.com/#!/ToddKincannon/status/193797444214071296

Kristina Ribali and @FreedomWorks deserve credit for helping force the primary.

https://twitter.com/#!/BatesLine/status/193789398356209664

How much did Sen. Hatch spend in his failed attempt to secure the nomination today? A lot:

https://twitter.com/#!/maggie82/status/193788397964378113

https://twitter.com/#!/DeanClancy/status/193782003093618689

To beat Hatch in the primary, Liljenquist will need to shore up his bank account:

https://twitter.com/#!/michellemalkin/status/193793282550145024

https://twitter.com/#!/DanForUtah/status/193793017159761921

Earlier Twitchy coverage here.