Evan McMullin, who captured 20 percent of Utah’s vote as an independent candidate in the 2016 presidential election, is challenging Republican Sen. Mike Lee for his Utah seat, the Associated Press reported. McMullin announced his candidacy in a Tweet Tuesday, where he also said that “extremism, division and conspiracy now threaten our quality of life and democratic republic.”
McMullin is a former agent for the CIA and congressional aide for Republicans. Though Utah is an overwhelmingly conservative state, residents typically place a higher value on politeness and skew more toward a middle ground on political issues, the AP reported.
McMullin was able to appeal in 2016 to Utah voters who were uncomfortable voting Donald Trump. In a statement, McMullin said he was not running as either a Republican or Democrat.