While some Republicans are pushing to censure Utah Sen. Mitt Romney for voting again to impeach Donald Trump, a left-leaning group is launching a campaign aiming to unseat Sen. Mike Lee for his vote to acquit the former president.
“Today we’re launching a campaign against him: Humans Against Mike Lee,” Kathryn Calderon, political director for The Alliance for a Better Utah, wrote in an email announcing the campaign.
“If you watched any of the impeachment trial last week — or if you’ve paid attention to the news at all over the past 10 years — you know that Senator Mike Lee is the worst,” she said. “He’s an extremist who enjoys debating semantics and picking culture war fights instead of getting things done to help Utahns.”
The group launched a website, HumansAgainstMikeLee.com, aiming to collect stories about why Lee should be dumped in two years, seeking volunteers and raising money. Among its suggestions: “Donate now. It’s therapeutic.”
Meanwhile last weekend, some Utah Republicans began circulating a possible censure for Romney, saying his second vote to impeach shows that he failed to “represent the average conservative Utah Republican voter” and “misrepresented himself as a Republican” when he ran for office.
That censure motion concludes by saying Romney used his “senatorial power and influence to undermine” Trump and claims “Romney appears to be an agent for the Establishment Deep State.”
The Utah Republican Party’s top leaders said they are not behind the censure effort. Instead, the party issued a statement Monday noting that both Romney and Lee have faced criticism for their impeachment votes.
“The differences between our own Utah Republicans showcase a diversity of thought, in contrast to the danger of a party fixated on ‘unanimity of thought.’ There is power in our differences as a political party, and we look forward to each senator explaining their votes to the people of Utah,” the GOP statement said.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant took a shot at Utah Republicans on Tuesday, tweeting, “I guess I’m confused why the @UtahGOP would censure @SenatorRomney for failing to represent the “average conservative Utah voter,” but not @SenMikeLee for failing to represent the average sane human voter.”
Last year after Trump’s first impeachment trial — when Romney was the only Republican to vote to impeach Trump — the Utah Republican Party Central Committee considered several proposals to punish Romney. Instead, the group passed a watered-down resolution praising Trump.
Also, state Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, introduced a resolution in the Legislature to censure Romney, but it never advanced. It, too, was replaced with a resolution praising Trump. Before Trump left office, he pardoned Lyman for his federal conviction on charges of leading an illegal ATV protest on federal lands.