Weber State professor launches U.S. Senate bid to unseat Lee
OGDEN — A Weber State University professor has launched a bid for the U.S. Senate post now held by Sen. Mike Lee, prodded by a range of sentiments.
“I think the best way I can describe it is some combination of senses of desperation, hope, responsibility and opportunity,” said Evan Barlow, an assistant professor of supply chain management at Weber State University who lives in Pleasant View. He says he’s “dead center” on the political spectrum and is running as an unaffiliated candidate, not tied to any political party.
Timing, the Senate seat coming open, figured in Barlow’s decision to seek public office for the first time.
But, he added, “I have not been super pleased with some of the things (Lee) has done.” He singled out Lee’s controversial statement during the U.S. presidential campaign last year comparing then-President Donald Trump to Captain Moroni, a military commander from the Book of Mormon.
He also cited the “manipulative” tone of political discourse of late, with some players, in his view, practically encouraging violence.
The election in the U.S. Senate race isn’t until next year, but Barlow joins a growing list of contenders for the seat. Among the hopefuls are GOPers Becky Edwards, Ally Isom and Brendan Wright. Allen Glines of Ogden is among three Democratic candidates listed on the U.S. Federal Election Commission website.
As an unaffiliated candidate in a Republican-leaning state, Barlow faces an uphill battle. A poll released last week by OH Predictive Insights, an opinion polling firm, showed Lee with 45% support among the key GOP contenders. Next were Wright and Edwards, with about 3% support each while another 48% said they were undecided.
Even so, Barlow expressed confidence, saying he thinks he has a chance if he can get his message out, muster recognition from the public. He called it the “communications game.”
The Republican Party, he said, “has left many of its members feeling lost.” Many GOPers last year voted against Democratic contender and eventual presidential winner Joe Biden in 2020 instead of voting for Trump.
As an unaffiliated contender, Barlow needs 1,000 signatures on petitions to get on the ballot, he said. If he reaches the number, which he thinks he’ll be able to do, he would land a spot on the Nov. 8, 2022, general election ballot, bypassing the primary.
Among the big issues, in his view, is concern among the public “about the future.” People are worried about the lack of affordable housing, health care costs and whether continued economic growth is sustainable, he said.
“My stances are based on this nation’s mission and values; logic, reason, data, and truth; and empathy and compassion,” he wrote on his website.
Sustainable materials, energy and industry are key to sustainable growth, according to Barlow.
“I have an enviro-economic plan that contains specific details on how to grow the economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions — without undue strain on livelihoods,” he said. Following his plan could cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next decade, he claimed.
He said the public health system is important and may need additional funds, but added that those getting assistance also have a responsibility.
“I believe we are currently under-investing in public healthcare,” he wrote. But, he went on, those getting aid “should expect limitations, restrictions, incentives and penalties to promote healthy living and properly respect the sacrifices made to fund the healthcare.”