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Shockingly Shut Utah Race Could Price Republicans The Senate As Mike Lee Falling

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The Utah Democratic Party took the type of step one would hope the Democratic party to take. It surveyed the landscape, understood that MAGA-fascism is the greatest threat to this nation, understood that a Democrat would never beat election-denying Republican Mike Lee, but Independent and moderate conservative Evan McMullin could and took the extraordinarily brave and well thought out step to not run a candidate in 2022. Utah Democrats threw their support behind McMullin. That decision has Mike Lee on the run, and the democracy-denying Senator is up only five points on a rising McMullin. Trumper Sen. Mike Lee may lose one of the most conservative states in the country, Utah.

From the very conservative but often Trump-wary Deseret News:

McMullin, who received 21.5 percent of Utah’s presidential vote when he ran as an independent in 2016, trailed Lee by just five percent in the latest poll conducted by the Deseret News and the Hinckley Institute of Politics, a nonpartisan institute at the University of Utah. The poll showed Lee leading by 41 to 36 percent, with the remainder going to other independent candidates or decided.

“Utah has not seen a Senate race this competitive in decades,” Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute, told the Deseret News. “Both Lee and McMullin have a base of support locked in and will spend the next few months in a contentious fight to win over the few who remain undecided.”

There will be some liberal sites and readers that will strongly disagree with the party’s decision. After all, McMullin is more conservative than centrist, though he’s committed to working with both sides of the aisle. He also praised the Democratic Party’s “incredibly brave step in putting country over party” and endorsing him. McMullin says he will not caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans, saying, “They can put me in the supply closet for all I care.” But in such a circumstance, a vote that Mitch McConnell needs to be majority leader may come up missing.

The big remaining question is whether Mitt Romney, who is incredibly powerful in Utah, will endorse McMullin. Romney hasn’t made an endorsement yet, and there is fear that Romney could pick up some easy “Republican points” in supporting Lee. But that doesn’t sound very “Romney-Like.” If Romney had a real shot at driving Trumpism out of the Utah Senate representation, he might well do it.

Again, some Democratic purists will rip the decision to support McMullin. A dream Democratic candidate is not going to win in Utah, period, but may get 25% of the vote. That 25% would work as a vote for Trump slave Mike Lee by splitting McMullin’s. In the real world, the Democratic Party’s first duty is to keep this country a democracy and throw its support behind anyone who agrees.

 

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