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Utah independent Evan McMullin launches 2022 Senate bid

Evan McMullin, a former undercover CIA officer who grabbed national attention during his long-shot 2016 independent bid for president, on Tuesday launched a campaign for the Senate in his home state of Utah, in an uphill challenge to oust conservative Sen. Mike Lee in the 2022 midterm elections.

“Our politics are broken,” McMullin emphasized a statement. “And it’s putting our country in danger. We need leaders who will unite rather than divide. Washington has left us so polarized that we’re failing to overcome major problems facing the nation and it has to change.” 

McMullin won 21% of the vote in Utah in the 2016 presidential election, but captured less than half a percent support nationally. McMullin, a vocal critic of former President Trump, is one of the leaders of a group of former and current Republicans who are trying to push back against Trump’s continued dominance of the GOP.


“The extremes in Washington don’t represent Utah. They prevent us from governing ourselves, and they jeopardize our democracy. The result is crisis after crisis that never gets solved.” McMullin argued in campaign launch video. He stressed that he would run for the Senate not “as a Republican or a Democrat, but as a patriot committed to defending our nation.”

McMullin’s campaign video spotlights his decision to join the CIA and his work with the spy agency, including serving overseas hunting terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. He later worked as a investment banker at Goldman Sachs as well as an adviser to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a House Republican Conference policy aide.

Trying to oust Lee won’t be an easy challenge. The Republican senator – first elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave – grabbed more than two-thirds of the vote in his 2016 reelection in conservative Utah.

Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire. 


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