Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee defeated independent challenger Evan McMullin for reelection to the Senate Tuesday in what has been one of the most expensive U.S. Senate competitions the state has seen in decades, according to Decision Desk HQ.
Decision Desk HQ projects Mike Lee (R) wins re-election to the U.S. Senate in Utah.#DecisionMade: 1:44am EST
— Decision Desk HQ (@DecisionDeskHQ) November 9, 2022
It will be Lee’s third term in the Senate. As of the wee hours Wednesday, Lee led avowed known never-Trumper McMullin 56% to 41%. While the Red Wave predicted by pollsters and pundits didn’t necessarily arrive, this is still a positive development for the Republican party. Lee said the race was “daunting and humbling,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune, adding:
Utah has spoken loudly and clearly. The values of the Democratic Party have failed us to the point that red states are having none of it.
BREAKING: Sen. Mike Lee has DEFEATED Evan McMullin in the election for US Senate in Utah pic.twitter.com/DpXZpbcD0g
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 9, 2022
We’re going to have some opportunity to go on the offensive and make a difference in the lives of individual Americans. We still have so much to do.
The sheer amount of cash involved in this race is staggering:
The unusual competition between the two conservative candidates has drawn national attention and an unprecedented amount of money. Lee has raised nearly double what he did last election cycle, and together, the candidates have spent nearly $16 million trying to beat each other. And according to OpenSecrets, when outside spenders are included, this race has cost north of $35 million.
The race was also notable in that a sitting Utah Senator, failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney, refused to endorse Lee despite every other Senate Republican doing so. Lee even went on Tucker Carlson Tonight to ask for Romney’s support:
Thanks, Mitt. Add this to your list of fails. While Republicans look like they’re going to come up short of the best-case scenario in this election cycle, this is still an important win.