Romney finance director backs possible Lee primary challenger
© Getty Images

Spencer Zwick, Mitt Romney’s former chief fundraiser, is urging a Utah businessman to launch a primary challenge to Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE (R-Utah), according to KSL News in Salt Lake City. 

Potential challenger Alex Dunn, the president of the home security company Vivint, served as Romney’s chief of staff during his tenure as Massachusetts governor. 


Dunn told KSL that he’s discussing a bid for Senate with a group of supporters, but wouldn’t elaborate.

"I am not out actively trying to find people to run against Mike Lee,” Zwick, who was Romney's national finance director for his 2012 campaign, said. “This is specific to Alex Dunn. I hope Alex will consider getting in the race.” 

Zwick added that he would help support Dunn through the primary if he decides to run. His national fundraising experience could make Dunn a serious contender right off the bat.

Zwick’s motivation comes from his lack of trust in Lee, who he blames for hurting the GOP’s brand by embracing the 2013 government shutdown. 

“Watching that didn't make me proud to have him associated with a party I love and believe needs to be a growing tent and not shrinking,” he said. 

He’s regularly criticized Lee, and said that while he’d stand down if the incumbent wins the GOP primary, “there are people in Utah who could do a better job representing the views of the whole party, and state for that matter, and not just one wing of the party.” 

Lee won his seat in the 2010 Republican wave election by knocking off Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and is viewed as a Tea Party favorite for his reputation as a stalwart supporter of limited government. That embrace has been at odds with the more moderate members of the party and Lee has faced rumblings of a primary challenge though none have materialized yet. 

Ward Baker, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement that the party's resources are firmly behind Lee.

"The NRSC is 100% behind Senator Lee and will work day and night to ensure he can continue to serve Utah families," he said. 

Earlier this month, Lee led possible Democratic challenger and former Rep. Jim MathesonJames (Jim) David MathesonTrump EPA eases standards for coal ash disposal Utah redistricting reform measure likely to qualify for ballot Trump's budget targets affordable, reliable power MORE by 6 points in a survey by Dan Jones and Associates. 

This post was updated at 2:43 p.m.