Never Trumper Evan McMullin Announces Independent Senate Run In UT Against Mike Lee

Evan McMullin, who ran as a third party independent presidential candidate in 2016, has announced that he will challenge Utah Senator and Trump supporter Mike Lee in next year’s mid-term congressional elections.

McMullin, a CIA veteran who called himself “the opposite of Trump” in 2016, is running a campaign based on ending rank partisanship in Washington, and what he says is the total lack of compromise and cooperation among both Democrats and Republicans. 

In the announcement of his campaign, McMullin stated, “Our politics are broken. And it’s putting our country in danger. Leaders who are able to unite and not divide us are what we need. Washington has left us so polarized that we’re failing to overcome major problems facing the nation and it has to change.”

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 2016 Presidential Campaign

Evan McMullin launched his presidential campaign in August 2016, but not until that time. He didn’t get more than 1 percent of the national popular vote, so he was unlikely to win. However, McMullin did receive 21% of Utah’s popular vote. He was still behind Clinton and Trump.

He doesn’t shy away from his opinions on President Donald Trump. It may prove to be a difficult battle for Utah’s political aspirations. Trump received 45% of Utah’s vote in 2016. That number rose to 58% in 2020.

In mid-January, 36% of Utah voters believed Trump legitimately won the election, including 44% of McMullin’s fellow Mormons.

It could be an indication that Utah isn’t too anti-Trump.

Following his failed presidential run, McMullin founded “Stand Up Republic,” a non-profit that is, “focused on uniting Americans across party lines around founding ideals.” 

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Never Trumpers at Gathering

McMullen, along his co-organizer Miles Taylor have been working together since 2016. Taylor was a former Department of Homeland Security officer under Trump but is best known as the author of 2018 New York Times Op-ed under the name of “Anonymous,” entitled, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” has met with other prominent Never-Trumpers.

Based on Deseret NewsSince the January 6th riot at U.S. Capitol Building, approximately 140,000 Republicans have changed Party affiliations.

In February, McMullin and Taylor hosted a virtual event called, “The New Conservatives Summit.” In on the secret meeting were names like Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and former Trump White House officials John Mitnick and Elizabeth Neumann.

 Back Story: ‘Never-Trump’ Republicans Looking To Form Their Own Party

McMullen and his band of Never Trumpers became even more determined after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) lost her leadership position in May, McMullin and more than 150 conservatives signed a letter stating that unless the Party returned to “founding American principles,” they would leave the Party.

Among those who signed on were a former Massachusetts Governor and failed GOP presidential candidate. William Weld is a disgraced ex-Gov. of South Carolina. Mark Sanford is an attorney, husband, and father of Kellyanne Conway and George Conway.

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Challenge The Infected in 2022

While no one is openly challenging Evan McMullin’s conservative credentials, beating the incumbent is always biting off a lot to chew.

The challenge could be made even more difficult by the fact that Freedomworks and Heritage Foundation have high voting rates on conservative issues.

The Heritage foundation gives Sen. Mike Lee a score of 96% conservative voting record on issues like the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, no on a cloture vote of the “For the People” Act, and voting no on the confirmation of now Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Freedomworks gives Lee a score of 100%. 

Even though things are still difficult for Evan McMullin (and his Never Trumpers) looking ahead, 2024 is a brighter future.

Donald Trump is still the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, should he choose to run again. 

And while less than half of the signers of the letter threatening to leave the Party want to form a new party if some change does not occur within the GOP, they say they “will explore an alternative party.”