Though he did endorse his friend Ted Cruz for president in March, Lee has kept his attention on the Senate throughout this divisive campaign year. Earlier in 2016, he launched the Article One Project, which seeks to weaken the executive branch’s lawmaking authority and promote Congress’s supremacy. Lee seems to be modeling his aspirations on Paul Ryan. The House speaker has said he wants his chamber focused on its agenda, and not the day-to-day happenings on the campaign trail. Since assuming the speakership, Ryan has rolled out multiple policy platforms for his conference and has responded to Donald Trump’s trail antics with annoyance.
For now, Lee will have to exert his influence without the policy committee chairmanship. But he could always make a go at the position again, even if his first try did rankle some members. While he’s up for reelection in November, he doesn’t have a primary challenger and Utah is traditionally red. The political evolution of Mike Lee will probably continue on six more years.