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In fundraising appeal, Sen. Mike Lee claims the anti-Trump Lincoln Project is gunning for him next year

A spokesperson for the group acknowledges he’s on their list, but might not be their top priority

(Senate Television via AP) In this image from video, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks as the Senate reconvenes after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Lee claims the anti-Trump Lincoln Project has made him their "top target" in the 2022 election cycle.

Sen. Mike Lee is fundraising nonstop for his 2022 re-election campaign, and using the anti-Trump Lincoln Project to boost his war chest. In an email sent Monday, Lee’s campaign claimed the group of former Republican political operatives and consultants is targeting him for defeat next year.

“The Lincoln Project — the same group of former Republicans that opposed President Trump’s re-election and attacked my Senate colleagues this past election — just announced I’m their TOP TARGET in 2022.”

Sen. Mike Lee fundraising email

Not quite according to Kurt Bardella, a senior adviser to the group.

“Sen. Lee is on our list, but we haven’t decided how high yet,” he said in an email to The Tribune.

Lee’s email names one of the Lincoln Project’s co-founders, Park City resident Steve Schmidt, as a possible opponent next year, calling him “formidable and well-funded.”

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It is true Schmidt has made some noise about running against Lee next year, tweeting in November last year that he was “thinking about it” and would run “to strip his sanctimony, BS and hypocricy (sic).” But, Lee’s camp dismissed a possible challenge from Schmidt, saying “LOL.”

Schmidt announced late last year he was registering as a Democrat after renouncing his Republican Party membership, but the New York Post reported recently that Schmidt had recently registered with the far-right Independent American Party in Utah. Schmidt claims he is not sure how that happened.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Lee starts the 2022 election cycle with more than $500,000 of campaign cash in the bank. Lee already has three declared challengers for next year: Democrats Austin Searle and Allen Glines and independent candidate Dr. Evan Barlow.

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