At a campaign rally for a Utah congressional candidate that carried an air of religious revival, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump told the crowd that the battle over the future of the United States isn’t between Republicans and Democrats.

“This is a fight between light and dark. This is a fight between good and evil. This is a fight between the godly and the godless,” Roger Stone said as a couple of hundred people, including several hundred GOP state delegates, cheered.

Stone is in Utah for Republican candidate Jason Preston, one of four Republicans challenging incumbent GOP Rep. John Curtis in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. The others are Tim Aalders, Chris Herrod and Lyman Wight.

All five will make their case to delegates at the Utah Republican Party nominating convention Saturday.

Candidate for the 3rd District Jason Preston, left, stands with Roger Stone, a conservative political consultant and lobbyist, at a rally for Preston at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi on Friday, April 22, 2022. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Preston, who describes himself as a “patriot” and “diehard constitutional conservative,” said Stone was looking for 30 candidates across the county who wouldn’t “kowtow” to the establishment and liked what he saw in the Orem resident’s campaign. He said he didn’t pay for Stone’s endorsement but only covered his travel to Utah.

“Roger Stone is here to remind us who we are. God bless Roger Stone,” Preston said toward the end of the two-hour rally.

In November 2019, a jury convicted Stone of obstructing a congressional investigation, lying to Congress and witness tampering in a trial stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. A judge sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison, but Trump commuted the sentence just days before he was to report to prison.

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Stone, 69, has associated with Proud Boys, a radical right group known for street violence, and the Oath Keepers, an extremist organization focused on recruiting former members of the military and law enforcement, according to the Washington Post.

Twitter permanently banned Stone from its platform in 2017 following an expletive-filled rant about a number of CNN anchors.

“Money for Nothing” by the British rock band Dire Straits blared through the auditorium at Thanksgiving Point as Stone took the stage. He denied any wrongdoing related to the Russian election interference and said he refused to “bear false witness” against Trump.

“I was framed because I’m a 40-year friend of Donald J. Trump, the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln,” he said.

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During his time on stage, Stone fired some darts at Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., while calling GOP Utah Sen. Mike Lee a “great American patriot.” Romney called Stone’s commutation “historic corruption.”

“God came and told me he needs to be removed from the U.S. Senate,” Stone said of Romney as the audience clapped and cheered. He encouraged people to launch a “remove Romney movement” and tell him to resign when they see him.

“We’re going to show the feckless, weak-kneed, lily-livered, corrupt, white wine swilling, brie cheese eating, country club belonging, Volvo driving establishment Republicans the door,” he said.

Saturday’s convention, he said, is an opportunity for Utah to tell the country “we’re not going to take it anymore. We’re taking our country back.”

“We’re not here just to elect Republicans. That won’t solve the problem,” Stone said.  “We need to elect a Republican like Jason Preston.”

Roger Stone, a conservative political consultant and lobbyist, acknowledges the applause from the crowd at a rally for 3rd District candidate Jason Preston at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi on Friday, April 22, 2022. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Preston said if elected he would fight to close the border, get rid of the U.S. Department of Education and government regulatory agencies, and go after Big Tech. He said he and an “army of patriots would not comply and not back down.”

He called Utah “corrupt,” and the crowd booed Republican Gov. Spencer Cox during one of the warm-up speeches to the main event.

“Tomorrow we are going to take this state back,” Preston told delegates to Saturday’s GOP convention, adding they would show “Utah’s deep state” the door and not elect a career politician. “You have the opportunity to shut this deep state down.”

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Preston, who works for the National Write Your Congressman organization, said if the convention voting doesn’t go his way, he would throw his support behind Aalders or Herrod, who lost to Curtis in two previous elections.

Stone said he and Preston will never give up the fight for freedom.

“We do battle for the Lord,” he said.

Stone has a checkered and colorful career as a political operative. He said he did some “crazy things” in his younger days and that he’s not the person he was 15 years ago. Now a born-again Christian, Stone said he’s proof that Jesus Christ can do anything.

“Stone spent decades as the consummate party insider — advising campaigns for Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — but he styled himself as a wily outsider for much of the last two decades, flirting with third parties throughout the 2000s and defecting for the Libertarians in 2012, before returning to the voter registry as, in his words, a ‘Rand Paul Republican,’” Tarpley Hitt wrote recently in the Deseret News.

The Washington Post reported last month that previously unseen documentary footage shows Stone working to overturn the 2020 presidential election and, after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, to secure pardons for Trump supporters.

Roger Stone, a conservative political consultant and lobbyist, speaks at a rally for 3rd District candidate Jason Preston at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi on Friday, April 22, 2022. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News