I have voted for Republicans my entire life. I’ve served as a Republican precinct chair and a state and county delegate. As a young man, I was president of the Brigham Young University College Republicans.

But this year, for U.S. Senate, I will not be voting for the Republican, and I encourage you to do the same.

I’m enthusiastically supporting former undercover CIA officer and independent Evan McMullin, and I’d like to explain why.

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By any objective measure, incumbent Sen. Mike Lee has been wholly ineffective for Utah.

In all measures of productivity, he’s markedly below average. He’s in the 11th percentile getting bills out of committee, in the 13th percentile in laws enacted, in the 19th percentile for the number of bills he’s cosponsored, and in the 12th percentile for bills with bipartisan support. Lee’s time in the Senate has primarily been spent as an ineffectual partisan.

On the other hand, McMullin will be an influential senator precisely because of his decision not to caucus with either party. In a 50/50 Senate where most senators vote along party lines, he will be the deciding vote on many important pieces of legislation. McMullin will be committed to finding common ground and improving bills that have a chance to pass. Lee is usually a meaningless “no” vote on bills already set to pass or fail.

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Furthermore, the past 12 years have made it increasingly clear that Lee does not represent all Utahns. Instead, he represents a small group of partisan voters — 60% of GOP primary voters, constituting only 13% of registered voters in Utah. Until this year, Lee has only needed to win support from this group because once he’s gotten the party nomination, he’s faced an uncompetitive general election. McMullin will not need to worry about partisan challengers in primaries and will represent his entire constituency — all Utahns.

Most importantly, supporting McMullin is the real conservative choice in 2022. Supporting him feels authentic to both conservative values and pragmatic judgment. America is arguably the most deeply divided it has been since the civil war. In such times, the most conservative thing you can do is vote for leaders who put country over party in support of our republic. Lee has shown that he’s willing to play with fire that could burn our union down for his political gain. McMullin has dedicated his life to protecting the union, from his service in the Central Intelligence Agency to his nonprofit work promoting liberty, equality and truth.

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I’m proud to endorse McMullin for U.S. Senate. I encourage all conservative-minded Utahns to join me in his mission to strengthen our republic as he represents all of us. It’s what our state and country need. 

Jeff Whitlock currently leads product development at Grain.com. He built PingPong, a video messaging app, and previously worked at McKinsey & Company. He lives in Provo with his family.

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