Independent Candidate Evan McMullin Declares Run for President

Anti-Trump conservatives have been searching for a third party candidate for months to run against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Many of them, understandably, balked at the idea of supporting “Libertarian” Gary Johnson after learning about his positively anti-liberty views on religious freedom.

Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin
Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin
But today, at long last, after an exhaustive search that featured public flirtations with near-candidates like National Review columnist David French, the #NeverTrump’ers have found their champion. His name is Evan McMullin.

Conservative Republicans have recruited a former CIA staffer and top House GOP aide to launch an independent White House bid — and he could cause problems for Donald Trump in a key state if he gets on the ballot.

McMullin, who had been the policy director for the House Republican Conference, is a longshot for the White House at best — facing high hurdles in the form of ballot access deadlines that have already passed in many states — but will offer anti-Trump conservatives an alternative to Trump and Clinton.

In a post on his new campaign website, McMullin explained why he is running against Clinton and Trump:
Millions of Americans are not being represented by either of these candidates; those of us who care about the strength of the military and intelligence services find little to embrace in either Trump or Clinton.

Americans who believe in limited, Constitutional government that is smaller, smarter, and more accountable view both Clinton and Trump as symbols of corruption and excess that provide no hope of basic competence in the federal government.

Those who embrace the dignity and value of every human life from conception until death; who understand the crushing danger of our unsustainable national debt; who believe deference to our Constitution outweighs partisan political priorities are all looking for something better than the two major party candidates are offering. These foundational and time-tested principles transcend party and politics but sadly have no champion in this election. We must not abandon the fight for these values, for doing so will deprive future generations of Americans the bright future we want to give them.
CNN speculated that, despite having ballot access issues, McMullin, a faithful Mormon with deep roots in Utah, could throw the election to Hillary Clinton by performing well in his home state, potentially taking votes away from Trump in the process.

McMullin’s presence could be felt most in Utah, where anti-Trump conservatives rallied behind Ted Cruz in the primaries and McMullin has one week to make the ballot. Cruz beat Trump 69%-14% in Utah after Mitt Romney urged Republicans in the Mormon-heavy state to fight Trump.

McMullin is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the university owned and operated by the Mormon church, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Utah, which is typically a reliably red state in presidential contests, has emerged as a possible toss-up. If McMullin were to draw enough conservatives from Trump, he could possibly throw the state to Hillary Clinton.

Will McMullin make his presence felt as a conservative alternative to Trump? Or will today — his announcement — be the high point of his presidential campaign?

Stay tuned.

Jon Schweppe is the Communications Director for American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @JonSchweppe.