First, Congressman Ron Paul, considered a "custodian" of the Constitution, has endorsed Mike Lee, who also presents himself as a "custodian" of the Constitution. The endorsement was awarded on June 15th, and Paul's statement was posted on the Daily Paul:
“I am proud to endorse Mike Lee for United States Senate.”
“Mike Lee will do the work to fight for lower taxes and spending and for more freedom in Washington. We need people like Mike voting with me in Congress.
“Mike Lee is a dynamic young leader who understands our Constitution and will fight against out-of-control government to restore our Liberty. Mike has the courage to stand up against the bailouts and government takeovers being forced down our throats by Washington insiders.
“Through his support for sound monetary policy, his outspoken commitment to reforming excessive government regulation, or his pledge to balance the budget NOW, Mike Lee’s common sense conservative approach continues to impress me at every turn.
“The American people need more than just another vote. We need a man of principle who will always stand up for what is right. We need a citizen politician who will represent US. Mike Lee is just that kind of individual.”
Congressman Paul's endorsement will likely tilt a split Utah Tea Party more in Mike Lee's direction, although according to Out Of Context, Dan Hauser, deputy campaign manager for the Lee campaign, doesn't consider it a "game-changer", although he thinks it will help open up some fund-raising ability. Unlike Tim Bridgewater, who's financed much of his own campaign through personal loans, Mike Lee has relied much more on outside contributions.
One scientific poll has been made public by the Lee campaign. On June 11th, the campaign reported that a poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies on June 8th indicated 39 percent for Lee, 30 percent for Bridgewater, and 31 percent Undecided. Although Lee is encouraged by the news, he intends to continue campaigning full steam ahead, as the Undecided could jump either way.
Meanwhile, on June 15th, rhetoric between Lee and Bridgewater just stopped short of outright attack mode during an hour-long forum held at the Intermountain Medical Center. The bone of contention was a new television ad from Lee that states Bridgewater "made money from earmarks and the Obama stimulus bill, even worked to send our tax dollars overseas." A media information packet from the Lee campaign about the new TV ad said Bridgewater is a consultant to Raser Technologies, a Utah energy company that received stimulus and earmarked funds, and was involved in a grant to Indonesia Power. Bridegewater said that it was a "complete falsehood" to say he personally profited from stimulus or earmarked funds and called the accusations "the sign of a desperate campaign." He also made a point of saying President Barack Obama is a constitutional lawyer but did not spell out that Lee is, too. KSL news video of this event embedded below:
And there's more heartburn about campaign ads. The Mike Lee campaign is considering filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over a political flyer that appeared to attack Sen. Bob Bennett's religion. The flyer, created in part by former Bennett staffer Tim Stewart, showed a picture of Bennett above the U.S. Capitol and contender Mike Lee above the Salt Lake LDS temple. The mailer then asked, "Which candidate really has Utah values?" Lee believes the mailer may have influenced the outcome of the state GOP convention and listed an unidentifiable organization in the paid-for disclaimer. Bridgewater also condemned the flyer.
And finally, one would think that a candidate who proclaims devotion to the Constitution would also value George Washington's counsel about avoiding entangling alliances. However, Salt Lake Crawlmeister Glen Warchol casts doubts about Mike Lee's devotion to Washington's counsel when he disclosed that the Lee campaign fired Connor Boyack as social media director for statements critical of the U.S. relationship with Israel posted on his blog back on April 1st. Most notably, Boyack wrote, "There are many, many more that say essentially the same thing: Israel is our partner, our friend, our faithful ally with whom we will never, ever break relations...This declaration of codependence is repugnant to the principles advocated by this nation's founders, and stands in stark contrast to Washington's counsel." A graduate student in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Utah reportedly found Boyack's statements on Israel and forwarded them to several national Jewish groups, who in turn ratted him out to Lee. Boyack still supports Mike Lee nonetheless.
It is useful to note that according to the AidToIsrael website, the United States is scheduled to give Israel -- the largest recipient of U.S. aid--$30 billion in military aid during the period 2009-2018. Click on the state of Utah, and you'll find Utah's projected share to be $187,349,741.62. Perhaps that's another reason why Connor Boyack is a bit put out.