Mike Lee doesn’t grab the headlines like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul but he is a major figure in the Tea Party. If for no other reason than his victory over then-incumbent Senator Bob Bennett was a sign of their growing influence in the party. Bennett had been in the Senate for 18 years and was part of a very powerful family in Utah, so for anyone to defeat him was a big shock.
Now three years later the Washington Post reports some Utah business leaders and Republican party figures have soured on Lee and his more confrontational approach. Is this the sign of a backlash in the GOP against the Tea Party?
The key point from the article is that Lee’s opponents are trying to change the nomination process. If they can get the Utah to move away from a convention system for picking nominees to a primary this could make Lee vulnerable. He won the GOP nomination in a convention and most people think if it had been a primary instead Bennett would still be in the Senate.
Like many things in politics this may come down to who can write the rules. If it stays a convention Lee should be fine but if it goes to a primary the Tea Party favorite may have a problem.