Evan McMullin surges in Utah; 3rd Party, Indy candidates could impact election day

A tumultuous election season gets more unusual by the day...

Evan McMullin surges in Utah; 3rd Party, Indy candidates could impact election day


Former CIA operative, businessman and chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, Evan McMullin could make this year’s presidential election a bit more complicated. A recent poll in Utah revealed that McMullin is in a “statistical tie” with Clinton and Trump and could play the spoiler in a state highly influenced by the Mormon Church.

Having started his campaign in August, McMullin’s recent surge in the polls has surprised many. However, he has much work to do in his state and around the country. Before this week only 52 percent of voters in Utah knew who he was.

Even though his chances at becoming the next president are considered slim-to-nil, McMullin has taken the slogan, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” McMullin believes that if he is able to take Utah, it could prevent Trump and Clinton from gaining enough electoral votes, and send the election to the House of Representatives. Once there, a series of events could line up that makes McMullin a realistic possibility.

A similar scenario has been discussed in social media, concerning Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — the idea being that taking that state’s electoral votes away from both of the major party candidates will force the congressional action.

Whatever scenario ensues, McMullin threw his hat into the ring as a response to the current selection of candidates and believes Americans can “vote their conscience” by voting for him.

Who is Evan McMullin?

A native of Utah, and member of the Mormon Church, McMullin graduated from Brigham Young University and served in the CIA working overseas as an agent in counterterrorism and intelligence operations from 2001 until 2011.

It was during his time working for the CIA that McMullin witnessed the influence of a dictatorship. In an interview with CNN he said, “I was exposed even further to authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, and I saw the harm they caused to people, economies and entire countries. I’ve developed, I think, a special opposition in my heart to tyranny.”

After his work in the CIA, McMullin worked for Goldman Sachs and in 2013 became a senior advisor for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Last year McMullin became the chief policy director for the House Republican Conference.

McMullin has been outspoken about his pro-life views stating on his website, “We must protect life from birth to natural death. Our respect for life is a true measure of our humanity. We must protect the lives of the most vulnerable from the unborn to the elderly.” Additionally, in an interview with the Christian Post he emphasized his strong stance on religious liberty.

However, while his pro-life stance is stronger than most of his opponents, he has been criticized for comments in an interview regarding his stance on marriage rights.

In the end, McMullin’s strong push during the past few weeks has caught the attention of many dissatisfied voters and has shed a renewed light on third party candidates, making it seem possible that things could get very interesting on election day.

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Philip Kosloski

Philip Kosloski is a husband and father of five, and staff writer at Aleteia. He also writes for The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), and blogs at the National Catholic Register.