Who Is Evan McMullin? 5 Things to Know About the New Independent Candidate Recruited by Anti-Trump Conservatives
Never-Trumpers are making their move.
McMullin, a former C.I.A. staffer and top House GOP aide, announced his White House bid on his website on Monday morning, saying, “It’s never too late to do the right thing. And if we work together, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.”
He added in a statement to The New York Times, “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up … It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for president.”
Here are five things to know about the new candidate – who could cause problems for Trump in the key state of Utah.
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1. McMullin has strong ties to Utah, where he could take votes from Trump.
McMullin, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, graduated from the church-owned and -operated Brigham Young University in Utah. McMullin is considered a long shot for the White House, but he could still impact the race if he does well in Utah.
Although the state typically votes solidly Republican in presidential races, support for Trump is surprisingly low for a GOP candidate. And the Times reported, “Mr. Trump cannot win the presidency without holding the states that [Mitt] Romney won, his aides have concluded.”
2. McMullin is reportedly backed by the group Better for America.
According to the Times, McMullin was recruited by the non-profit organization Better for America, which has been searching for an independent candidate to take on both Trump and Clinton. The group is backed by John Kingston, a donor who previously supported 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Like McMullin, Romney is also a Mormon. He was the first Mormon to become a major party presidential nominee.
3. McMullin is already an outspoken critic of Trump.
He criticized Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric in a Facebook post in August, writing, “As Donald Trump continues attacking Muslims and as a former CIA officer, I’d like all Americans to know the truth: American and other Muslims have played a central role in virtually every counterterrorism win we’ve had since 9/11. They are an indispensable asset in this fight. Attacking them as a group makes America weaker, not stronger.”
He’s also spoken out against Trump in several tweets over the past few months:
4. McMullin previously worked on policy development with the House Republican Conference.
According to the Times, the House Republican Conference was apparently not pleased about McMullin’s entry into the race. Nate Hodson, a spokesman for the House Republican Conference, said of McMullin in a statement, “The House Republican Conference has zero knowledge of his intentions.”
5. McMullin has already missed the ballot-access deadlines for more than 24 states.
The ballot-access deadline for an independent candidate in Utah is Aug. 15.