paving the way
Utah Democrats declined to nominate a candidate for U.S. Senate at their nominating convention on Saturday in order to give independent Evan McMullin a better chance at defeating Sen. Mike Lee (R), ABC News reports.
Democrat Kael Weston sought the party's nomination but will not appear on the ballot after being out-voted by the pro-McMullin faction at the convention. The motion to back McMullin by not endorsing a Democrat received 782 votes to Weston's 594.
After the vote, Weston said he wants Utah to have a "healthy political marketplace, and that's not going to be possible if we don't have Democrats on the ballot," Deseret News reported.
Utah has not elected a Democratic senator in over 50 years.
McMullin, a center-right former CIA officer, ran for president in 2016 as a "Never Trump" candidate, receiving over 20 percent of the popular vote in Utah. Lee voted for McMullin in 2016 but supported Trump in 2020.
McMullin praised Utah Democrats for putting "country over party" and said he aims to build a coalition of "Democrats, independents, [and] principled Republicans."