SALT LAKE CITY — Former Republican state lawmaker Becky Edwards announced Thursday that she will challenge GOP Sen. Mike Lee in 2022.
Edwards, who spent a decade in the Utah House of Representatives before stepping down in 2018, said she has watched politics become divisive and dysfunctional, and it's time for a leader in Washington who will stop bickering.
"I became a public servant to make a positive impact on the lives of our families and the prosperity of our state," she said. "I did that by building a reputation as someone willing to listen and work with anyone to solve problems."
Lee, who is seeking a third term, has sent out a flurry of fundraising emails since the first of the year. One notes that at least nine Republicans could jump into the race.
"That's right, Fellow American — nine — and more could still throw their hats in the ring," according to the email.
"So before we can even face the Chuck Schumer Democrats in the general election, we must face an onslaught of challengers, each trying to outdo the others to take me down, each spending money to undermine my support and misrepresent my record."
Other possible GOP candidates include former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, former state Sen. Dan Hemmert, former Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright, and Ally Isom, a longtime communications, public policy and campaign strategist.
The Lee campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Edwards candidacy.
As a member of the Utah House, Edwards said she championed "commonsense conservative" solutions to challenges facing Utah families. She worked to expand affordable housing options, improve schools and support clean energy opportunities across the state. She said she understands the importance of working together to address the struggles that families and businesses face on the heels of a global pandemic and an economic recession.
"Right now, Utah families are struggling and businesses are facing uncertainty," she said. "Our leaders in Washington must start working together to ensure our economy recovers from this crisis. Our state and nation are at a critical turning point and it is our job to stop tearing each other down and start building bridges to a better, more prosperous future."
Edwards graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in home economics. She also has master's degrees of social work and family and marriage therapy. She and her husband, John Edwards, have four children and nine grandchildren. She and her husband recently returned from American Samoa where they served as humanitarian missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.