(CNN) – Utah Republican Mike Lee said Friday that he favors changing the way senators are elected, even as he seeks his own seat in that body.
Speaking on CNN's John King, USA, Lee said that the 17th Amendment was a mistake, and that while he wouldn't focus on repealing it, he does "think that we lost something when we adopted it."
The 17th Amendment established the direct election of senators by the popular vote. Senators had previously been elected by state legislatures.
"I do think the 17th amendment was a mistake," Lee told CNN's Jessica Yellin. "I do think that we lost something when we adopted it, but I don't think that in our life times we're going to see any movement afoot to do that."
Lee also broke ranks with fellow Tea Party favorite Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, saying that the United States should not reduce the number of federal dollars spent on national defense.
"I don't think we ought to be reducing military spending. One of the few things the federal government was supposed to do and is supposed to do properly is provide for our national defense," Lee said.
Paul has in recent weeks teamed with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, in calling for massive military spending cuts.