United States

Utah Democrats support independent Evan McMullin to stand up to Mike Lee

The decision to stand for McMullin could help strengthen his Senate candidacy at a time when Lee is on the defensive over newly unveiled text messages that show he had been communicating with then-White House chief Mark Meadows for weeks to reverse the 2020 election. at their congress in Murray, Utah, on Saturday, they voted 57% to 43% not to nominate their own candidate. Former State Department official Kael Weston sought democratic support for the US Senate.

“Today, Utah Democrats voted to join Evan McMullin’s inter-party coalition and not nominate a candidate for the U.S. Senate’s bi-annual race in 2022,” McMullin said in a statement on Saturday. “This is the first time in Utah’s history that the Democratic Party has not submitted a candidate for a national race and instead preferred the country to the party.”

Weston said he respected the decision. “Let’s all help get more Democrats elected this year. And let’s all help beat Mike Lee – the sooner the better,” he said on Twitter. Lee, who is running for a third term in November, remains a favorite in dark red Utah. , which in 2020 supported the then President Donald Trump by more than 20 points. The Democrats have not won the Utah Senate elections since 1970. Lee also has a strong advantage over McMullin, according to their latest statements. Federal Electoral Commission. The senator faces June primaries against two Republicans, former Attorney General Becky Edwards and former State Attorney General Ally Isom, who qualified for the vote by submitting the required number of signatures. McMullin, a former CIA officer and former GOP House of Representatives adviser to the president in 2016 as a conservative against Trump. Although he won less than 1% of the popular vote, his candidacy earned about 22% of the vote in Utah, the best example of any state.

“I am humble and grateful to today’s Democratic delegates for their decision to support this growing coalition across political parties,” McMullin said on Saturday. “Today, and forward, this coalition represents most of Utah, who wants to replace Senator Mike Lee. It is a threat to the republic and does not consistently represent our interests and our values.”

Former Utah MP Ben McAdams, who lost his re-election in 2020 after serving one term, was one of the Democrats who actively sought to persuade his party not to nominate a candidate at the convention. He wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday that he was “proud to be part of Evan’s growing coalition of independents, Democrats and Republicans. Together, we can win this race and defeat Senator Mike Lee.”

McAdams himself looked at the candidacy for the Senate, but said he eventually decided against seeing his own poll on how difficult it would be to win as a Democrat in a long-standing Republican state.

CNN said earlier this month that texts between Lee and Meadows show a series of communications beginning just days after the 2020 election, in which Lee originally expressed support for questioning the election results. In early December 2020, Senator Meadows began sending text messages about the idea that states could submit congressional pro-Trump voter lists to Congress on January 6, 2021.

However, in his statements since the uprising, Lee gave the impression that he was only monitoring state activity, as opposed to promoting the idea of ​​single voters in Meadows.

In an interview with Utah-based Deseret News last week, Lee defended himself and tried to reject the narrative of working to reverse the election or working on behalf of the White House. “I was not involved in advocacy at any time,” Lee said, alluding to the calls he made to states to submit alternate voter lists.

“I didn’t encourage them in any way. I just asked them yes or no,” Deseret News said.

Dan Merica, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox of CNN contributed to this report.