Mike Lee retains U.S. Senate seat, defeats Evan McMullin

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Sen. Mike Lee gives his victory speech at the GOP watch party in Salt Lake City. Lee won the Senate race with 55% of the popular vote. (Aubree B. Jennings)

Sen. Mike Lee won the U.S. Senate race in Utah, with 55.2% of the popular vote, beating out independent challenger Evan McMullin, who received 41.4% of votes.

Lee thanked his supporters during his speech following the announcement of his victory on Fox News but before the Associate Press called the race.

“I’m so grateful to you, to the people of Utah, for the trust that you’ve placed in me, the fact that you’ve given me the opportunity to represent you in the United States Senate. This is both daunting and humbling,” Lee said.

Lee also spoke of his future plans as Utah’s representative in the Senate.

“Utah has spoken loudly and clearly. The policies of the Democratic Party failed us,” Lee said. He said the first item of action should be to create “a plan to bring about aggressive oversight and accountability to this out-of-control administration.”

Lee made a promise for change: “Things are going to be different this time,” he said. “They are going to be different, because they must be different, because the stakes have never been higher, because they’ve never pushed the envelope this far to where people are hurting the way they are today.”

The 2022 Utah congressional race was primarily between Republican Mike Lee and independent Evan McMullin.

Gov. Spencer Cox addressed the competition between Lee and McMullin at the beginning of the GOP watch party Tuesday night.

“I get asked a lot is the Senate race going to be close, what’s happening out there. And I always give the same answer, and the answer is no, the Senate race is not going to be close. It’s going to be double digits at least, it’s going to be a very, very, very good night for Republicans all across the state of Utah,” Cox said.

Lee began his first term in 2010 and ran again for reelection in 2016 with no competition in the primaries.

Lee has received criticism for his changing opinion on former President Donald Trump and for his uncompromising style. While he initially disapproved of Trump and called on him many times to back out of the presidential race in 2016, Lee grew closer to Trump during his four year presidency, even comparing him to “Captain Moroni.”

Tyler Cannon, a volunteer on Lee’s congressional campaign, spoke of what critics refer to as his uncompromising style in a different way.

“The opportunity to work on the campaign staff has really opened my eyes to see the side of the senator that I never saw before. And I saw somebody who’s very committed to their values, and people may disagree with those values, but he stands strong with what he believes in,” Cannon said.

Near the end of Lee’s speech, he expressed his enthusiasm for the future. “We understand that strong communities and families are essential not only to our survival but to our freedom itself. The best is yet to come for Utah and for America,” Lee said.

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