The Utah Democratic Party officially decided not to nominate a candidate to challenge U.S. Senator Mike Lee. Instead, the Democrats are joining with a coalition of independents (and the United Utah Party) to back Evan McMullin.
During Saturday’s at times chaotic convention at Cottonwood High School in the Salt Lake County suburb of Murray, a faction of delegates put forth a motion to opt against choosing Kael Weston as the party’s Democratic U.S. Senate nominee and instead join McMullin’s coalition.
McMullin, a former Republican, ran an unsuccessful independent campaign for president against former President Donald Trump in 2016. Now he’s got Lee in his crosshairs.
“We know that Sen. Mike Lee was quite involved in the effort to overturn our democracy,” McMullin told reporters shortly after his victory was reflected in vote tallies, seizing another opportunity to blast Lee over his text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows as he explored ideas on how to overturn the 2020 presidential election before ultimately deciding to vote to certify the electoral results on Jan. 6.
McMullin’s campaign has banked big bucks already and his fundraising momentum is likely to accelerate now that the Democrats are officially on board.
Recent polling showed Lee with 43% and McMullin trailing at 19%, but that assumed a Democrat in the race drawing 11% of the vote. Consolidate that anti-Lee support and the race gets a whole lot tighter. Additionally, nearly a quarter of voters remained undecided.