SALT LAKE CITY — Election Day is two months away and independent U.S. Senate candidate Evan McMullin continues to argue that a two-party system is no longer the answer, but supporters of incumbent Senator Mike Lee hope to see his streak go to chase.
McMullin held a rally in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday night, saying the issues he champions extend to all parties.
“This year and this decade, we will choose either to stay on the path defined by our founding truths, towards a more perfect union, or to succumb to those who, out of cynical self-interest, now promote a dark alternative to democracy in America, ” he said.
McMullin said party loyalty has “infected the nation” and Utah needs to see a change.
“If you’re not prepared to stand up to party leaders and special interest groups or extremist factions in your own party, before too long you’re not truly representing your constituents or the people of your state, and that’s what happened to Sen. Lee,” he said.
FOX 13 News has reached out to Lee for comment. The senator was unavailable, but Amelia Powers Gardner, co-chair of his re-election campaign and Utah County Commissioner, spoke on behalf of his team.
“When McMullin first ran for president, he was a conservative alternative to Republican, but now he’s a moderate alternative to Republican,” she said. “I don’t think we know where Evan McMullin is and I think he’s going to say what he has to say to get elected.”
Powers Gardner said Lee’s issues, including criminal justice reform and data privacy, are much more bipartisan than McMullin’s.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re on the left with the ACLU or on the right, having a broad collection of our data from the federal government is not something Utahns want,” she said.
Republicans have won every U.S. Senate race in Utah since 1976. McMullin hopes to break that streak while Lee’s supporters hope it continues.
“I think the Utahns recognize the great work Senator Lee has done and we’re going to keep him in Washington for ourselves,” Powers Gardner said.
“Together we can face this perilous moment and come out of it stronger,” McMullin said. “For Utah and America.”