Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate Evan McMullin (right) talks to a prospective voter at the Pioneer Day Extravaganza activities in Provo on July 23 (Photo courtesy of Facebook).

HIGHLAND, UT – Independent candidate for U.S. Senate Evan McMullin charges that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) abandoned Utahns to spend Pioneer Day weekend at a Trump rally in Florida.

“Sen. Lee’s choice to leave Utahns this past weekend is a true testament to where his heart is,” Mullin said in a press release issued by his campaign on Monday. “He doesn’t seek to represent Utahns – he seeks power and attention.

“His support comes from party bosses and special interest groups and not the people he is elected to represent.”

On July 23, former President Donald Trump spoke at the Turning Points USA Conference in Tampa, FL. His remarks during that speech indicated that Lee was present at the event, confirming McMullin’s charges.

McMullin said that Lee left the campaign trail in Utah on the state’s most historically significant day of the year. That same day, McMullin attended the Pioneer Day Extravaganza in Provo with friends and family.

A native Utahn, McMullin is a former operative for the Central Intelligence Agency. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he deployed undercover to the Middle East. McMullin ran clandestine operations against terrorist organizations there for a decade.

After completing his CIA service, McMullin earned a master of business administration at the Wharton College of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as a policy advisor to Republicans and Democrats in Congress on national security and other issues from 2013 to 2016.

In 2016, McMullin ran an unsuccessful campaign for president against Donald Trump.

While McMullin’s Pioneer Day charges may seem petty, they tie to two important issues in the current Senate race.

Those issues are Lee’s loyalty to the former president and campaign funding.

In April, the Cable News Network suggested that newly revealed text messages between Lee and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows showed that the incumbent senator was involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

But Lee has since insisted that he was simply monitoring activity from the states, as opposed to promoting the idea of separate electors to Meadows.

On the campaign trail, McMullin says that he had found that Utahns are eager to replace Mike Lee.

“He’s failed to be a constructive, impactful leader,” McMullin complains, “and his obsession with serving our former president is dangerous.”

A July 13 to 18 survey by Dan Jones pollsters found that the economy was the number one issue on the minds of Utah voters in the upcoming mid-term election in November.

Inflation has been skyrocketing throughout 2022. In the Intermountain West, regional inflation has raised the price of goods and services 9.9 percent in June, up from 9.4 percent in May.

On a national level, consumers are paying 5.6 percent more for housing, 60 percent more for gasoline and 10.4 percent more for groceries.

Despite those price increases, McMullin said that Utahns are still opening their wallets to fund his campaign.

According to his campaign staff, McMullin has raised more than $3.2 million in this election cycle with more than 85 percent of that amount coming from donations of $200 or less.

“I’m so grateful to the thousands of Utahns who chipped into our campaign,” McMullin acknowledged. “It is support like this that will make us successful in November.”

In early July, the McMullin campaign announced that it has raised over $1.4 million in the second quarter of 2022, breaking the record for any Utah challenger in a federal election race and setting a historic fundraising pace of a non-party aligned independent candidate anywhere in the country.

“Washington politicians like Sen. Lee are bought and paid for party bosses and special interest groups,” McMullin charges. “But our campaign is not accepting corporate (political action committee) money.

“I will never sell out Utahns to a partisan elite in exchange for a campaign check.”

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