Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee captured a third term Tuesday night after his same-state GOP colleague in the upper chamber de facto backed Lee’s challenger, a Democrat masquerading as an independent.
Mitt Romney, the junior senator from Utah, was the only Republican senator who refused Lee an endorsement against failed 2016 third-party presidential candidate Evan McMullin. In April, Romney told Politico his refusal to endorse in the contest was due to having “two friends” in the race.
“I don’t get involved in primaries and I don’t endorse,” Romney said, despite attending a fundraiser for Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney days later. Cheney went on to lose her August primary by more than 36 points to Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman. And had many Democrat voters not changed their party registration to support Cheney in the GOP contest, her losing margins would have been far wider.
McMullin ran as a self-proclaimed independent but pulled the endorsement of the Democrats in April as the party’s official candidate and solicited donations through ActBlue. His campaign, funded by Democrats, became nearly indistinguishable from Democrats in other states, considering his pro-abortion platform and hyperventilating about democracy supposedly being in danger if Republicans won. On the debate stage in October, McMullin fabricated charges against Lee, saying the incumbent had conspired with the White House to hijack the Electoral College and turn the 2020 election for President Donald Trump.
[RELATED: Evan McMullin Is A Democrat And A Fraud]
“I think you knew how important it was when you sought to urge the White House that had lost an election to find fake electors to overturn the will of the people,” McMullin said. “Sen. Lee, that was the most egregious betrayal of our nation’s Constitution in its history by a U.S. senator, I believe, and it will be your legacy.”
An honest examination of events, however, reveals McMullin was lying.
According to reporting by Robert Costa and Bob Woodward, two favorites of the Washington establishment, Lee’s knowledge of a campaign seeking alternate electors extended merely to “a social media campaign — an amateur push with no legal standing,” not a real plot by the White House.
Lee explained what happened on stage. “In the days leading up to Jan. 6, when the votes were going to be open and counted, I had a job to do,” Lee said at Utah Valley University. He continued:
There were rumors circulating suggesting that some states were considering switching up their slates of electors. If that were true, I would need to know about that. I did research on that. I made phone calls to figure out whether the rumors were true. The rumors were false. On that basis, I voted to certify the results of the elections.
Lee then challenged Romney on Fox News in October to get behind his campaign or else risk losing out on a Senate majority.
“I don’t think Mitt Romney wants Chuck Schumer to continue to be the Senate majority leader,” Lee said. “If I’m right on that, then he needs to get on board, because that’s exactly what he will be producing.”
The endorsement never came, but each candidate’s response to Romney’s recusal says everything about whom the senator actually supported.
“I respect that and appreciate it very much,” McMullin told Politico this summer of Romney’s non-endorsement.
The failed 2012 Republican presidential nominee, who endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement two years ago, shot what was left of his conservative credibility when he sought to undermine Lee. While McMullin was propped up by Romney’s silence, Lee is the projected winner of the contest by a whopping 14 points with nearly 70 percent of the vote reported.