On Saturday, the Utah Democratic Party decided to throw its support behind the independent candidacy of former presidential candidate Evan McMullin to take on GOP Senator Mike Lee.
The choice to back McMullin could help embolden his Senate bid at a time when Lee is currently on the defensive over newly revealed text messages.
Those messages seme to indicate that Lee communicated for several weeks with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows regarding the attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Delegates for the party voted 57 percent to 43 percent on Saturday while at their convention in Murray, Utah to not nominate their own candidate. Former State Department official Kael Weston had been attempting to obtain the Democratic endorsement for U.S. Senate.
“Today Utah Democrats voted to join Evan McMullin’s cross-partisan coalition and not to nominate a candidate into the 2022 midterm US Senate race,” McMullin’s campaign announced in a statement on Saturday. “This marks the first time in Utah’s history that the Democratic Party has not put forward a candidate for statewide race choosing instead to put country over party.”
Weston added that he respected the decision. “Let’s all help to get other Democrats elected this year. And let’s all help defeat Mike Lee – the sooner the better,” he posted in a tweet.
Lee, who is looking to win his third term in November, is still the favorite in Utah, which, as a deeply red state, backed then-President Donald Trump by more than 20 points in 2020. Democrats have not been successful in obtaining a U.S. Senate election in the state since 1970.
Additionally, Lee has a strong monetary advantage over McMullin, as noted by recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. Lee will face two Republicans in a June primary, heading up against former state Rep. Becky Edwards and former state government official Ally Isom.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LOCALNEWS8.COM