Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah published an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune explaining why voters should give him a third term in office — and he did so in the third person.

“Mike Lee serves as a United States senator representing the state of Utah,” reads the op-ed, which was originally published with Lee listed as the author.

The op-ed, clocking in at less than 300 words, reads like a basic biography of the Utah senator. It notes the year that he graduated from college (1994), when he earned his law degree (1997), and a brief summary of his professional history since then. It goes on to list his committee assignments, as well as a few major pieces of legislation that Lee has touted.

Much of the essay appeared to be broadly similar to the biographical details on the Utah Republican’s “About” page on his campaign website.

While Lee was initially listed as the author of the op-ed, the senator’s byline was later removed. Matt Lusty, an advisor for Lee’s re-election campaign, told Insider in a statement that the article was “not an OPED.”

“The Salt Lake Tribune solicited an essay from the campaign for inclusion in their voter guide. The campaign supplied them with a version of Sen. Lee’s standard bio,” said Lusty. “It’s regrettable it was presented as being from Senator Lee, but they have told me they’re updating it to be from the campaign.”

The Tribune didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Indeed, Lee’s primary opponent — independent candidate Evan McMullin — also wrote an op-ed touting his candidacy.

Unlike Lee, he wrote it in the first person.

“I’m Evan McMullin,” wrote McMullin. “I’m running for U.S. Senate not as a member of any political party or as a representative of some special interest, but as a true independent dedicated to serving Utah and our nation.”

The contest between Lee and McMullin — a former Republican who ran a third-party presidential campaign in 2016 — has grown unexpectedly competitive, according to recent polling.

Underscoring that reality, Lee recently publicly asked for the endorsement of fellow Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney in an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. Citing his friendship with both candidates, Romney has declined to endorse either.

Ironically, Lee voted for McMullin’s third-party candidacy in 2016 presidential primary, saying at the time that it was an “opportunity to register a protest vote” against Donald Trump.

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