Utah Republican Mike Lee wins reelection to US Senate

Nov 7, 2022, 2:01 PM | Updated: Nov 8, 2022, 10:49 pm
Independent Evan McMullin talks to supporters during an election-night event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022,...

Independent Evan McMullin talks to supporters during an election-night event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Taylorsville, Utah. McMullin is trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)

(AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)

              Independent Evan McMullin talks to supporters during an election-night event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Taylorsville, Utah. McMullin is trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks to reporters during an election-night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, right, speaks to reporters during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Independent Evan McMullin, right, talks to supporters with his wife Emily Norton, left, during an election night event on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks to reporters during an election-night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Independent Evan McMullin, left, talks to supporters with his wife Emily Norton, right, during an election night event Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Taylorsville, Utah. McMullin is trying to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican. (AP Photo/Alex Goodlett)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks to reporters during an election-night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks to reporters during an election-night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, right, speaks to reporters during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks to reporters during an election-night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks to reporters during an election-night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
            
              FILE - Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee speaks during a campaign event Oct. 27, 2022, in Draper, Utah. Lee is being challenged in his bid for reelection by independent Evan McMullin in the Nov. 8, 2022 election. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
            
              FILE - Independent Evan McMullin speaks during a campaign event Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Salt Lake City. McMullin is trying to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican, in the Nov. 8, 2022 election. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Republican Mike Lee has been reelected to a third term in the U.S. Senate, defeating independent challenger Evan McMullin on Tuesday in the state’s most closely watched Senate race in decades.

Lee’s win keeps Utah in Republican hands as the party vies for control of Congress and reflects that the libertarian-leaning conservative’s popularity has endured in Utah. His win indicates the majority of Utah voters were not swayed by McMullin’s criticisms of Lee’s second-term transformation, from a one-time opponent of former President Donald Trump to among his most loyal supporters.

McMullin’s formal backing from the Democratic party, which opted to back him instead of choosing a candidate, and attempts to exploit anti-Trump sentiment ultimately weren’t enough to unseat Lee.

Utah voters were familiar with McMullin from his independent presidential campaign in 2016, when he won 21.5% of the vote in the in Utah by seizing on anti-Trump sentiment to deny Trump an outright majority in the state.

Six years later, McMullin’s bid focused largely on Lee’s text messages with Trump’s staff in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. It ultimately wasn’t enough to score an upset in a state where voters and many political leaders have gradually grown to embrace Trump since 2016.

Lee comes from a prominent Utah political family. His father, Rex, served as U.S. Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan and his brother, Thomas, is a former state Supreme Court Justice currently defending the state’s ban on transgender youth who want to participate in girls’ sports.

Since first being elected, Lee has cultivated a reputation for citing the U.S. Constitution frequently, often with the help of a pocket-sized edition he carries, and for advocating to limit the size of the federal government. He’s clung to those principles even when doing so has made him a lone “No” against otherwise unanimous votes in the Senate and contributed to the federal government shutting down. Two Republicans cited his unwillingness to compromise as a rationale for challenging him in Utah’s June primary and McMullin used his record to accuse him of being an obstructionist.

Lee’s defenders say his voting records exemplifies a willingness to fight for them and their values. He received endorsements from 48 Senate Republicans — all but Mitt Romney, who he’s represented Utah alongside since 2019. Lee’s victory over a self-identified conservative independent like McMullin suggests challenges could lie ahead for Romney should he decided to run for reelection in 2024.

Lee’s contest against McMullin was more competitive than either of Lee’s previous two races. He was first elected in 2010 during a Tea Party wave that he rode to unseat third-term Republican Sen. Bob Bennett at the Utah Republican Party’s convention that year and ultimately won the general election by 28.8 percentage points. He secured a second term in 2016, defeating Democrat Misty Snow by 31 percentage points.

He began that year as an avowed and public opponent of then-candidate Trump, even attempting to lead an effort to sabotage his nomination on the floor of the Republican National Convention. He voiced anger at Trump’s treatment of his friend and colleague U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and said on national television that the “Muslim ban” plank of Trump’s 2016 campaign was religious discrimination and an affront to both his beliefs and the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members make up the majority of Utah’s population.

Lee gradually warmed to Trump as he began fulfilling the priorities such as nominating conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, lowering taxes and embracing a conservative case for criminal justice reform. His ideological viewpoint won him support from political action committees like Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth, which funneled millions into attack ads undercutting McMullin’s attempts to portray himself as an independent.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Shoppers looking for bargains enter an OshKosh children clothing store, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in M...
Anne D'Innocenzio and Cora Lewis, Associated Press

Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive

Consumers holding out for big deals -- and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything -- may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
11 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.  ...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
11 hours ago
FILE - Sandra Cruz Torres, mother of Robb Elementary massacre victim Eliahna Torres, chats with Bet...
Associated Press

Uvalde mom sues police, gunmaker in school massacre

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last conversation Sandra Torres had with her 10-year-old daughter was about her nervous excitement over whether she’d make the all-star softball team. Hours later, Eliahna Torres was one of 19 children and two teachers massacred at their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. With little closure and few answers about law enforcement’s […]
1 day ago
FILE - Actor Danny Masterson appears at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on June 7, 2017. ...
Associated Press

2 sick jurors lost from deliberations at Masterson trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two deliberating jurors at the rape trial of former “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson were dismissed Monday because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo replaced the jurors with two alternates and told the panel to start over with deliberations. The jurors were […]
1 day ago
This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to reporters on Capitol Hil...
Associated Press

Georgia runoff: Early voting for Warnock-Walker round 2

ATLANTA (AP) — In-person early voting for the last U.S. Senate seat is underway statewide in Georgia’s runoff, with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock working to get the jump on Republican challenger Hershel Walker who is putting less emphasis on advance balloting. After winning a state lawsuit to allow Saturday voting after Thanksgiving, Warnock spent the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Groups ask EU to drop carbon removal from climate plans

BERLIN (AP) — Scores of environmental groups issued a joint appeal Monday for the European Union to drop carbon removal methods from its climate plans, arguing that some of them rely on untested technology while others may not absorb as many greenhouse gas emissions as claimed. The EU’s executive Commission has proposed creating a system […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Utah Republican Mike Lee wins reelection to US Senate