Actor and activist Mark Hamill made a virtual appearance in Utah — apparently the most “Star Wars” obsessed state in the country — supporting independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin at a volunteer kickoff event Thursday.
Best known for playing Luke Skywalker, the 71-year-old Hamill said he was attracted to McMullin because of his coalition of independents, Republicans and Democrats.
“I know that if he’s elected he will work with senators on both sides of the aisle,” he said, noting McMullin has said he won’t caucus with either party but “will be a true voice of independence and do what’s right for this country.”
“There was no question in my mind I should do whatever I can to further his cause,” he said.
McMullin and two-term Republican Sen. Mike Lee are engaged in a tight race. A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll this week shows Lee with a four-point lead.
“I’m hoping against hope that (McMullin) prevails on Nov. 8,” Hamill said.
McMullin said that through his movie roles and advocacy, Hamill has become a symbol of the fight between light and darkness, adding “certainly we face that in our country now and in this campaign.” He said it’s a fight for self-government, a democratic republic and truth.
“We’re facing a tidal wave of lies, doctored videos and false attack ads etc., from the forces of darkness,” McMullin said.
Hamill, who has been a strong supporter of Democratic candidates and called Mitt Romney a “snake oil salesman” during his 2012 presidential run, weighed in on Utah’s Senate race this week.
“I like @EvanMcMullin SO much, it makes me wish I lived in Utah so I could vote for him!” Hamill tweeted to his nearly 5.3 million followers. He added, “FUN FACT: Brigsby Bear was filmed in Utah,” referencing a 2017 comedy he appeared in.
Hamill said people often ask for his support even though he doesn’t live in their state.
“I don’t want it to backfire and have people say, ‘Oh, well, he’s just the liberal Hollywood elite,’ which always makes me laugh because I’m decidedly middle class,” he said.
Hamill said he was the middle of seven children and his father was a career naval officer. He said his family moved often and that he attended nine schools in 12 years, graduating from high school in Japan.
Hamill said he has never not voted and is passionate about what’s going on in the country. The Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol brought the country close to a constitutional crisis, he said.
“It’s scary to think that our democracy could be so fragile, that we could lose it,” he said.
Hamill said it’s crucial to bring independents, Democrats and “reasonable” Republicans together as McMullin is trying to do.
“It’s clear cut there are people in the reality based community and then there are people who believe that the election was stolen with absolutely no proof. They believe in these terrible conspiracy theories and they are extremists,” he said.
Hamill said it’s ironic that the most divisive president in the country’s history united people from wildly different ends of the political spectrum, listing prominent Republicans who now follow him on Twitter.
“I understand we all have common cause and that’s why I’m so excited about your candidacy because Mike Lee belongs to the party of extremists and we have to find common ground,” Hamill said of McMullin.
Electing McMullin over Lee, he said, would be a “force for change.”