Utah is a unique place. I’m proud to be from this state, and I’m proud to be from Emery County. My love for my home is what prompted me to get involved in politics as my county Democratic Party’s vice chair and the chair of the Democratic Rural Caucus.
While I often wish it were different for Utah Democrats, our state has not elected one of us as governor or U.S. senator in more than 40 years. Year after year, election after election, decade after decade, Democratic candidates for our state’s highest offices fall short of anything resembling a competitive election.
Sen. Mike Lee is uniquely bad — not just for Democrats, but for Utah and for our country. I took an oath to serve the country and defend the Constitution during my military service, and am deeply troubled by Lee’s actions before and after January 6. He failed to alert the public or law enforcement about what he knew of the plot to overturn the election ahead of time, and even called for Trump to receive a mulligan after it happened.
Frankly, if Utah Democrats are serious about standing on the side of democracy and replacing Mike Lee, we’ve got to realize there is too much at stake in this election to do the same thing we always do and expect a different result. Therefore, I support Evan McMullin’s campaign for U.S. Senate.
As a Democrat, I’ll admit, he doesn’t check every box for me. But as a Utahn and an American, I know that supporting McMullin is, very simply put, the right thing to do. This is not Democrats giving up or giving in — this is adapting to the crises we are facing and working to build a larger coalition necessary to start winning.
Democrats should not put forward a candidate and those who are currently running should drop out. If Democrats who want to see Mike Lee gone remain divided, we will ensure his reelection. McMullin is the only candidate in the race with the profile, team and resources to bring together the coalition of Democrats, independents and Republicans needed to win.
Evan is a former CIA agent (who served undercover after 9/11), congressional advisor, and he’s running as an independent. In the first three months of his campaign, he invited all Utahns regardless of party to join his coalition and raised more than $1 million dollars.
I’ve met Evan. We have a lot in common: He’s a good man who volunteered to go to the Middle East to fight in dangerous war zones to protect our country. He compassionately volunteered as a refugee resettlement officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He is a responsible, reasonable, constructive voice for change.
He’s pledged not to take any special interest or PAC money. He’s been fighting to defend our democracy full-time since 2016. He supports marriage equality, protecting voting rights and measures to reverse climate change. He’s also recently urged a more sensible way forward on the abortion debate which includes doing more to support women, children and families. He shares my values.
Last week I saw he released his policy priorities. Most politicians want us to believe there isn’t common ground, but McMullin has already found it. He says he wants to strengthen democracy, lower health care costs and protect our air and water. And, most importantly, he has the support and the resources already to beat Mike Lee.
His campaign is already doing the hard work – bringing sensible Republicans, independents, Democrats and United Utah party members together to defeat Lee. Former Rep. Ben McAdams has endorsed him along with United Utah Party member Jonia Broderick and many other. It’s this kind of coalition-building that can remove a Republican incumbent.
It will be a historic race. One the nation needs to see and one that Utah Democrats need to rally behind.
I am supporting Evan McMullin, and I urge every Democrat to do the same. The stakes are too high, the danger to our democracy too great, the needs for our country too many. McMullin will bring people together, get things done and win. He will represent the best of Utah and make us proud.
I’m asking all my fellow Democrats to join me.
Talin Hansen works in refugee resettlement and currently serves as the Chair of the Utah Democratic Rural Caucus and as Vice Chair of the Emery County Democratic Party.