SALT LAKE CITY — Less than 24 hours after Sen. Mike Lee won the Republican primary to seek another term in Washington, his challenger come November spoke of the differences between himself and the incumbent.
Independent candidate Evan McMullin is seen as a serious challenger for Lee's seat which he's held for 12 years. One poll puts Lee and McMullin in a dead heat, with undecided voters possibly making a difference.
"Most of Utahns want to make a change here," claimed McMullin on FOX 13.
The former member of the Central Intelligence Agency and one time presidential candidate in 2016, McMullin said Lee's current brand of politics rewards extremism and division, which he said Utahns are tired of.
"There's an important moment here, in the country, but especially here in Utah that people are just fed up with politics as usual," said McMullin. "They're just broken."
As an independent, McMullin said he wants to serve as a candidate to unite everyone, including Republicans and Democrats, to better serve Utah's interests, which he says is different than Lee. He believes working across party lines will help get things done.
"This extreme partisanship that plagues the country just doesn't serve our state well and Mike Lee has certainly bought into that, he's bought into that and that's the biggest difference."
With the country currently dealing with inflation, rising gas prices, and increased costs for health care, McMullin wants to focus on Utah residents only.
"We need leaders who will set aside the broken politics of division and extremism, and be willing to stand up to special interest groups and party bosses and just put the people first," McMullin said. "Put people first, in this case, put Utahns first."
If he wins, he think a team of him and Mitt Romney in the U.S. Senate will vault Utah to become a player on the national scene.
"I think it'll make Utah the most influential state in the union," claims McMullin. "I think we'll have tremendous influence on the direction of the country and I want that for the state."
In the end, McMullin believes his independent status will help serve all Utahns, not just those with a designated party affiliation.
"I'm not going to Washington if we prevail to be a lackey for Joe Biden or Donald Trump, I want to put the people of our great state first."