SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Republican Ally Isom cast herself as exclusively able to challenge Sen. Mike Lee in a 2News interview on Thursday, and said Becky Edwards should fold her campaign.
“Yes, I’m calling for Becky Edwards to drop out of the race,” Isom said. “Pragmatically, if we want a new senator, strategically, I am the only viable conservative alternative.”
Isom’s call came just days after the state GOP convention in which Lee, who's running for a third term, won roughly 70% of the vote of delegates. Isom and Edwards both had fractions of Lee’s total – but still earned places on the June primary ballot by collecting signatures.
In the delegate voting, Edwards came in second with 11.77% of the vote. Isom came in third with 9.66%.
2News asked Isom how soon Edwards should drop out of the contest.
“The sooner the better,” she replied, adding she has respect for Edwards, a former Utah legislator.
Isom said “we’re friends,” but maintained Edwards can’t win.
2News reached out to both the Edwards and Lee campaigns for reaction. Edwards' campaign responded to Isom calling for her to drop out of race:
“Since announcing my formal candidacy, I have continued to be the leading Republican challenger in this race: by leading every poll, in the total amount of dollars raised, cash on hand, placing second at the GOP state convention, ten years of Republican service in the Utah House of Representatives, never having left the party, over 1500 volunteers, and tens of thousands of followers across social media. Public statements without proven performance is precisely why I'm in the race against Sen. Mike Lee. We welcome the support of anyone that shares our vision for more productive and proactive leadership in the U.S. Senate.”
“Is there a scenario right now where you might drop out of this race?“ 2News asked Isom.
“No, I’m in the race for the long haul,“ she replied.
“If she (Edwards) stays in the race, what is the path for you to win?” 2News asked.
“We have to have mainstream, classic conservatives show up,“ Isom said. “I am the only candidate speaking to the heart of the Republican Party.”
Edwards, Isom, and Lee are set to face each other in the primary election which takes place June 28. Whoever wins that primary will face independent candidate Evan McMullin, whom Utah Democrats voted Saturday to back instead of someone from their party.
KUTV 2News reporter Daniel Woodruff contributed to this report