Libertarian, Independent American hopefuls vying for Senate
Supplied and Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner
Mike Lee and Evan McMullin aren’t the only choices in the U.S. Senate race, though they are mustering the most media attention and will undoubtedly pull the most votes.
Jimmy Hansen, a Libertarian from Monument Valley in San Juan County, is vying for the spot now held by Lee, a Republican, as is Tommy Williams of Orem, running under the Independent American Party banner. McMullin is running as an independent but received the Utah Democratic Party endorsement.
Hansen, who teaches science at Monument Valley High School, has long been into politics and always regarded himself as a Libertarian, he said in an interview with the Standard-Examiner. The 33-year-old got into the race in part because he’s met the age requirement to run for the U.S. Senate — at least 30. Moreover, as a full-time job, the Senate post would provide the pay he’d need to survive, unlike a part-time post in the Utah Legislature.
Williams didn’t respond to Standard-Examiner queries seeking comment. But on his campaign website, assuring “national election integrity” ranks high as an issue along with protecting funding for police and letting “parents, cities and the state” set education priorities.
Three write-in candidates are also running for the U.S. Senate: Laird Hamblin of Salt Lake City, Abraham Korb and Michael Seguin, an Ogden Valley man who had pushed for formation of a new party, the Bull Moose Party.
On the issues, Hansen said advocating for pro-choice policies on the abortion issue ranks at the top of his list. “The main thing for me is bodily autonomy,” he said.
Next for him is criminal justice reform with regard to policing and sentencing. “We’re putting too many people in prison,” he said.
Addressing the drought and water issues are the third most important topic. Agriculture uses the overwhelming majority of water in Utah, he said, and one change he’d advocate for is making farmers pay the “market rate” for the commodity, without subsidies. “If you have to pay, you’d see conservation,” Hansen said.
The United States too readily jumps into foreign conflicts, he thinks, and he’d vote against military action “that does not directly tie to the defense of our nation,” he said on his website.
He was drawn to the Libertarian Party, he said, in part because it touts limited government intervention. “I don’t advocate for no government,” he said. “I advocate for smart government.”
Where government involvement isn’t necessary, individuals should be free to run their lives as they see fit, he believes.
Though Lee and McMullin are getting the most attention, Hansen sees his candidacy as filling a role — creating a potential option to those not drawn by either of the main hopefuls. He campaigned regularly over the summer but now largely limits it to weekends since he has to teach during the week.
On his website, Williams touts support for term limits, an end to taxes on groceries and medication, “avoiding unnecessary wars” and affordable child care. The Independent American Party, rooted in founders’ efforts to create a “‘truly’ conservative party,” puts a focus on upholding the U.S. Constitution, putting more power in the hands of people, reducing taxes and more.
Williams is also a big gun rights proponent, “100% pro-life” and a foe of gay marriage.
As for the write-in hopefuls, Hamblin put a focus on empowering people and encouraging participation in a message on the election page operated by the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office.
“Some people are sending politicians to tear apart our nation! We must send politicians to put it back together!” he wrote.
On his website, Seguin said he is an alternative to the main parties.
“I’m talking about leadership with vision that inspires, unites and offers good choices, folks — and your right to choose. Is it a choice if your options are so limited that you are stuck with only the ‘generations-old’ selection between what the Democrats and Republicans offer us?” he wrote.
Hansen’s and Williams’ names will appear on the ballot. Those favoring a write-in hopeful must write their name on a blank line in the ballots.
Information on Korb wasn’t readily available online.
In other news in the Senate race, Lee has received the endorsement of former Vice President Mike Pence. Lee received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump last April.