Mike Lee: The GOP’s conservative base is growing

Pence breaks from Trump allies on foreign policy, blasts ‘Putin apologists’ in GOP primary race

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) discusses the impact of the U.S. Senate on the Senate filibuster with The Hill’s Alexander Bolton in May. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Republican primary race has never been more clear or more important. A crowded field of candidates hoping to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz(R-Texas) began with two candidates in the primary: Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. Both are billionaires, though Trump has yet to break through against Cruz. So far, they’ve both failed in their bids to get onto the ballot. And while Fiorina came within a hair’s breadth of becoming vice president under Marco Rubio(R-Fla.) in 2016 (a feat easily achieved by Marco Rubio), Trump hasn’t. Trump still has only one name on the ballot — despite the fact that the voters who voted in the primary have already decided who they’re supporting.

That’s because while Trump has the support of most of the GOP establishment’s leadership, it’s a collection of small donors that keeps him afloat. But the GOP’s conservative base is growing, and candidates running on the right have increasingly struggled to pull off a come-from-behind victory against the establishment.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has run the furthest from the mainstream. In other words, the establishment is still very much within his sights. If he’s going to come out of a primary win, and it’s no sure thing, you wouldn’t expect to see a major fundraising commitment. But with the Texas senator still being in the race, I decided to chat with him about how running for president is really like running for Congress, the impact of the U.S. Senate on the Senate filibuster and where he’d like to see the country heading in the coming year.

The first thing he told me was, “you are not going to believe this, but my campaign is already $2 million in the bank.” Which is true. But this is a candidate not

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