A new poll revealed that former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin would defeat incumbent Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in a potential matchup in a U.S. Senate race, Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV reported.
The poll by JMC Analytics and commissioned by The Centrist Project, an organization that is recruiting candidates for public office in 2018, found that 33 percent of Utah residents would vote for McMullin and 29 percent would vote for Hatch, while 11 percent would vote for a Democrat if the election were held today. Ten percent of respondents said they would select someone else, while 17 percent said they were undecided.
The poll also found that only 21 percent of Utah residents said they would prefer for Hatch to be re-elected, while 68 percent said they want “someone new.”
A poll released in January by the Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics found that 78 percent of registered voters in Utah do not think Hatch should run for re-election. Hatch has since indicated that he plans to seek another term.
Speculation about a potential run for office by McMullin, who launched a bid for the White House as an alternative for conservatives dissatisfied with President Donald Trump’s candidacy, increased after Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced earlier this week that he will not seek re-election in 2018.
McMullin, a former CIA agent, told the Washington Examiner in a Thursday email that he had been considering a primary challenge to Hatch or Chaffetz in the 2018 Republican primary, and Chaffetz’s departure from Congress might help him reach a decision about his political future.
“I’ve been considering challenging Hatch or Chaffetz, or not running at all in 2018,” McMullin wrote. “Obviously, this development today is significant, but there are other important factors. I still haven’t made a decision.”