Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Will Mike Lee Get a GOP Challenger in 2016?

Sen. Mike Lee has been able to avoid a challenge from within the party for the Republican nomination in 2016. 

So far, a number of high-profile Republicans have declined to challenge Lee next year.

Our "Political Insiders" are divided on whether Lee will face an intra-party challenger. 

52% of the Republicans on our panel think Lee will be unopposed for the nomination while 48% say he will face a fight.

Conversely, 52% of the Democrats we surveyed think Lee will draw a rival next year. 54% of our readers say he will be unopposed.


Selected anonymous comments:

"At some point, one of the people who supposedly has his eye on a senate seat is going figure out that there is no way Orrin Hatch is really going to step down in 2018 and taking on Mike Lee in 2016 is a much better bet."

"If he does draw a Republican challenger, it will be some lightweight that nobody has ever heard of."

"There are always a few unknowns who pay the filing fee so they can say they ran for senate. Lee is Cruz without the bomb throwing, he is working for conservatives and calls out the Republican moderates addicted to crony capitalism. In an anti-establishment environment, no moderate of note would have a chance."

"Mike's Utah staff has done a remarkable job of clearing the field from him."

"Some very, very, very minor candidate will run against Lee for the sole reason that it gives him/her a platform to say what they want. Any opponents will be minor."

"Mike has been fundraising and gearing up for a big 2016 fight. His team has been trying to stave off a primary fight, but he's shown weakness and is actively disliked by national leadership. He would sail through a caucus-only primary process dominated by the closet Birchers, so we will probably see challengers hold off until SB54 is resolved. The best thing hopefuls can do is leave him alone to do what he does until it's time to gather the moderates and independents."

"There's enough opportunity there. Someone will go the Mia Love route and get 95% of their money from outside the state of Utah and win."

"Although I was extremely hopeful several months ago that some rational Republican would throw their hat into the ring, it has become pretty clear that no one significant wants to put up a fight against our junior senator. That is too bad. When it was looking like he might draw a serious challenger, he started acting more reasonably but now that it is unlikely, he is becoming unhinged again."

"There will always be a kook that throws their hat in the ring, but no one serious will challenge Lee. Merrill Cook perhaps could give it another try."

"He will draw a challenger during the convention but will successfully avoid a primary. He will then go on and get re-elected in the general election. The status quo will prevail."

"The right candidate could beat Sen Lee in the primary. He has made avoidable mistakes that leave him vulnerable though he has improved more in the past year or so."

"Anyone who could pose a real threat has decided against it. No one wants to burn any bridges or make any enemies for when they all run for Hatch's seat. The fight for Hatch's seat will be a bloodbath."

"Polls suggest that most Utah Republicans are more moderate than Lee – whether he draws a challenger will be an interesting confirmation (or denial) of these results."

"It would be a shame if he didn't get a challenge, after all he has voted twice to irresponsibly shut the government down."

"Senator Lee was wise in selecting Scott Anderson and Jon Huntsman, Jr to co-chair his campaign. This signaled to the more mainstream members of the party that he has support from that wing and will keep them from rising up against him. It would take either a name, money, or both to take him on with Anderson and Huntsman no one can come up with that."

"The Utah Republican Party is a fundamentalist organization and Senator Lee is a fundamentalist Senator."