GOP Sen. Mike Lee's efforts to win re-election in Utah have taken another bizarre turn.
Lee is being challenged by independent Evan McMullin after Democrats strategically chose to not nominate a candidate and instead back McMullin.
The conservative Club for Growth is seeking to back Lee with a television campaign that was described as "foolish" in a letter-to-the-editor in The Salt Lake Tribune.
"There’s a lot that disturbs me in Mike Lee’s ubiquitous commercial paid for by Club for Growth Actions. But this line, in particular, is especially repugnant: 'After a foolish vanity campaign for president, Evan McMullin …' I’m sorry, but who is Mike Lee (and this PAC) to judge Evan McMullin’s decision to run for president?" Kim Smart asked.
On social media, McMullin wrote, "Mike Lee can criticize that choice all he wants now. But it's a little strange given he voted for me ..."
After the 2016 election, Lee told an audience at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute in Salt Lake City that he voted for McMullin, the newspaper reported.
"I had signaled in the past concerns that I had with my party's nominee. I've made no secret about that and I don't feel any desire to rehearse those now.… I saw in Evan McMullin an opportunity to register a protest vote," Lee explained.
\u201cNew ads for Mike Lee are calling my 2016 presidential campaign a \u201cvanity run.\u201d\n\nThat couldn\u2019t be further from the truth. It was a time to stand up and defend our country. \n\nMike Lee can criticize that choice all he wants now. But it's a little strange given he voted for me ...\u201d— Evan McMullin \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Evan McMullin \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1664324015