Nov. 8, 2022 U.S. Senate

Sen. 3











x x





















+Mike Lee (R) i
Evan McMullin (unaff.)
James Hansen (L)
Tommy Williams (IAP)
write-ins (3)


Registered voters: 1,689,918.  Total ballots cast: 1,084,634.   
Plurality: 112,016 votes (10.41 percentage points).
 UT Elections

Sen. Mike Lee (R), seeking a third term, fended off a strong challenge from former CIA officer Evan McMullin (I), who was also tacitly backed by state Democrats.  On the ballot as well were Jimmy Hansen (L) and Tommy Williams (IAP).

Lee had been a Trump skeptic in 2016, but he became one of Trump's strongest allies.  Indeed, in the days following the Nov. 2020 election, Lee pushed the White House to act, as revealed in mid-April 2022 when a batch of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows' texts were leaked.  Former President Trump endorsed Lee on Apr. 1, 2022:
"Senator Mike Lee has done an outstanding job for the wonderful people of Utah. There is no greater voice for our Military, our Vets, Law and Order, or our Second Amendment, which is under total siege. He loves his State, and is by far the superior Senator there—not even a contest! He is running against Evan “McMuffin” McMullin, a man that does not represent the standards and policies of the great people of Utah. All you have to do is read the ads about McMuffin in the last campaign to know what he stands for. He is laughed at by all, and would be a disaster for the State—and you can’t have two such Senators like that at one time. Mike Lee, on the other hand, is top of the line. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"
In Sept. 2022, Lee announced support of 48 of the 49 Republican Senators, all except colleague Sen. Mitt Romney.  Additionally former Vice President Mike Pence endorsed Lee in a video the campaign released on Sept. 27.

In 2016 McMullin won over 700,000 votes as an Independent candidate for president (+).  He launched his Senate campaign on Oct. 5, 2021, running on a theme of renewal (>), seeking to help "America move beyond the division and extremism that we see today."  McMullin set out 12 principles for renewal.  He gained the support of Utah Democrats, which opted not to run a candidate, and was backed as well by the United Utah Party.  McMullin also touted endorsements from former RNC chairman Michael Steele and former DNC chairman Howard Dean.  On Sept. 7 he held a "Courage to Lead "rally in Salt Lake City (>).

Lee and McMullin participated in one debate, hosted by the Utah Debate Commission at Utah Valley University on Oct. 17 (1, 2).
The Lee campaign reported $12.3 million raised, $11.5 million spent and $1.1 million cash on hand compared to $7.8 million raised, $7.4 million spent and $414,164 in cash on hand for the McMullin campaign (>).  Outside spending was significant as well (>); five groups spent more than $1 million on the race.  Top spenders supporting Lee were Club for Growth Action ($5.5M), Americans for Prosperity Action ($1.6M) and Liberty Champions ($1.6M).  Put Utah First, which politico Rob Pyers describes as "a SuperPAC funded by Democratic megadonor Reid Hoffman and a number of other donors who have given mainly to Democrats," spent $5.4 million.  Also Crypto Freedom PAC spent $3.3 million.

June 28 Primaries
Both the Republican and Democratic parties held nominating conventions on Apr. 23, 2022.  At the Republican convention in Sandy, delegates nominated Lee with 2,621 votes (70.74%);
former state Rep. Becky Edwards finished second at 436 votes (11.77%), former Kaysville City Councilwoman Ally Isom third at 358 votes (9.66%) and four other candidates rounded out the field.  Edwards and Isom submitted signatures and appear with Lee on the June 28 primary ballot.  There were two debates.  All three candidates met at Draper Middle School in Draper, hosted by the Utah GOP, on June 1 (>).  Edwards and Isom participated in the Utah Debate Commission debate on June 2 (>).  Lee won the primary with 61.94% of the vote to 29.67% for Edwards and 8.40% for Isom.

Kael Weston, a former State Department official who was the 2020 Democratic nominee for Congress in UT-2, sought the party's Senate nomination.  However, instead of endorsing Weston, delegates at the Democratic convention in Murray
voted for a motion to "join Evan McMullin's independent coalition to beat Mike Lee instead of nominating a candidate for U.S. Senate."  While the state party has not formally endorsed McMullin, and the form of its participation in the coalition remains to be seen, there was not a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate on the June ballot.

Campaign Managers
Mike Lee:  Matt Lusty
Co-founder and partner of Election Hive and Honey Communications, a consulting firm in Salt Lake City, from Jan. 2018.  Deputy chief of staff to Speaker Brad Wilson in the Utah House of Representatives, Jan.-Nov. 2019.  Director of marketing and communications at the Hinkley Institute of Politics, Feb. 2017-Feb. 2018.  Marketing and communications manager for the Salt Lake Chamber, Feb. 2015-Feb. 2017.  Political strategist and associate at Stokes Strategies, Sept. 2014-Feb. 2015.  B.A. in strategic communication from University of Utah, 2014; including full-time missionary in Guatemala, Feb. 2010-Feb. 2012.

Evan McMullin:  Andrew Roberts
(Oct. 2021)  Campaign manager on Ben McAdams for Congress (UT-4), Oct. 2017-Dec. 2021.  Senior advisor on Mike Bloomberg for President, Dec. 2019-Apr. 2020.  Campaign manager (Mar.-Dec. 2016) and finance director (July 2015-Mar. 2016) on Owens for Congress.  Finance director for the Utah Democratic Party, Nov. 2012-July 2015.  Political and finance advisor on Ben McAdams for County Mayor, Feb.-Nov. 2014.  Finance director for the Utah House Democratic Caucus, May-Nov. 2012.  Engineering administrator at L-3 Communications, Mar. 2011-May 2012.  Field operative for the Democratic Party of Arkansas Coordinated Campaign, July-Nov. 2010.  Field operative on Friends of Blanche Lincoln, Jan.-July 2010.  Arkansas field organizer for student outreach on Obama for America, Aug. -Nov. 2008.  Staff assistant in the Office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Jan.-Aug. 2008.  Special projects on Hillary Clinton for President, Mar.-June 2008.  Studied political science and government at University of Arkansas.

See also:
Bryan Schott.  "Fox News offered to host a U.S. Senate debate in Utah. Evan McMullin said yes. Mike Lee said no."  The Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 26, 2022.

Jeff Zeleny and Alex Rogers.  "Could Republicans lose a Senate race in deep-red Utah?"  CNN, Oct. 5, 2022.

Dennis Romboy.  "Sen. Mike Lee has support of all Republican senators — except one."  Deseret News, Sept. 9, 2022.

Burgess Everett.  "Welcome to the strangest Senate race in America."  Politico, Aug. 8, 2022.

Igor Derysh.  "'This will end badly': New texts reveal Mike Lee played key role in Trump’s Jan. 6 election scheme."  Salon, Apr. 15, 2022.

Derek Jensen.  "Shadow Candidate."  Utah Political Underground, Apr 12, 2022.