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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wants to see a kinder, gentler GOP on the ballot in 2016.
The conservative senator traveled to Iowa to speak at a gathering of 2016 presidential hopefuls, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, among others.
Lee makes it clear he has no interest in a White House bid himself, saying he was there purely to support those running or considering a run.
"I'll be on the ballot in 2016, but only one state - my state," Lee says in a new interview with KSL Newsradio, "where I'll be running for re-election."
Lee says he'd like to see campaigns take a more positive turn.
"I'd like to see us find a candidate who's principled, who's grounded in the principles that have made our party strong over the years. I'd like to see someone who's proven his commitment to those principles, and someone who is willing to share a positive message, explaining not just what it is that conservatives are against but also what they're for," Lee says. "I think that's a winning combination."
Lee would not express a preference for any one candidate, saying instead that a well-rounded field is only going to help the republican party in the long run.
"I think we've got a big field of potential contenders, and that field includes some very talented people," Lee says. "At this point, when I look at the field, I say, the more, the merrier. I think we need a really robust, aggressive, roiling debate within the party, and I think that process will help us select the candidate that we ought to be running in 2016."
Becky Bruce is the executive producer of Utah's Morning News on KSL Newsradio.