The Corner

Mike Lee Wins Friends

Andrea Drusch reports:

Lee, a tea-party fa­vor­ite who un­seated in­cum­bent GOP Sen. Bob Ben­nett in his 2010 cam­paign, drew the ire of Utah’s es­tab­lish­ment lead­ers for push­ing the 2013 gov­ern­ment shut­down. Most not­ably, in Decem­ber 2014, Zions Bank pres­id­ent Scott An­der­son and former state party chair Jon Hunts­man Sr. called Lee an “em­bar­rass­ment” and an “ex­trem­ist,” and they told Politico they were seek­ing a can­did­ate to run against him. An­der­son, one of the biggest polit­ic­al in­flu­en­cers in the state, com­mis­sioned sur­veys from Utah poll­ster Dan Jones show­ing Lee as vul­ner­able in a primary. 

Yet just three months later—after a hand­ful of can­did­ates turned down the op­por­tun­ity to chal­lenge Lee— An­der­son’s name ap­peared on a list of co­chairs re­leased by Lee’s reelec­tion cam­paign, along with Hunts­man’s son, former Gov. Jon Hunts­man Jr. In that re­lease, An­der­son praised Lee for “[col­lab­or­at­ing] on an agenda fo­cused on mean­ing­ful re­form.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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