Third-party conservative challenges Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee

Local Politics

FILE – This Nov. 8, 2016, file photo, conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin speaks to his supporters during an election night watch party after Republican Donald Trump won Utah, in Salt Lake City. McMullin has created a group that he says will expand his ability to serve as a watchdog over President Donald Trump. McMullin on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, announced the launch of the “Stand Up Republic” group. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin is launching a campaign to challenge Republican Sen. Mike Lee in Utah.

McMullin is a former CIA agent and a congressional aide. He announced his third-party candidacy Tuesday in the conservative state where he made inroads with voters uncomfortable with then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

He’s challenging Lee, a two-term incumbent who won office during the tea party movement.

Lee was initially skeptical of Trump but later became a staunch ally of the president.

His other challengers for 2022 include two Republican women: former state lawmaker Becky Edwards and former gubernatorial spokeswoman Ally Isom.

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