AP NEWS

Independent Presidential candidate visits Jackson preaching conservative values

October 25, 2016

Independent presidential candidate and former CIA operative Evan McMullin, of Utah, stopped in Jackson on Monday hoping to carry recently acquired campaign momentum into the surrounding areas. He preached traditional conservative policies.

“We’re the only conservative option running a traditional conservative platform,” McMullin said of his campaign. “You can’t lead this country if you don’t think we’re all created equal, and the Republican Party abandoned those principles and empowered those voices by nominating [Donald] Trump.”

McMullin announced his candidacy Aug. 8. According to a recent Emerson College poll, in just two and a half months he secured a four-point lead in his home state.

“We are fighting to stand up for people who are being attacked by Trump and the principles for a new American leadership to unite conservatives and reach out to people who are not traditional conservatives,” he said.

Just as alarming as Trump’s rhetoric, McMullin said, are Hillary Clinton’s policies promoting big government.

“People are unsatisfied with Trump and Clinton,” McMullin said. “We’re seeing an increase in people searching for write-in candidates.”

McMullin’s strategy is to win enough states to keep both Clinton and Trump from winning the 270 electoral votes required by the Constitution to become president.

An Electoral College deadlock would then pass the responsibility of electing a new president to the U.S. House of Representatives, with the top three candidates eligible.

Though third-party candidates Gary Johnson, of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein, of the Green Party, may win a higher share of the popular vote, if McMullin is the only one among them to win electoral votes his name would be sent to Congress along with Clinton and Trump in that scenario.

“We like our chances of beating Trump and Clinton there,” McMullin said.

“We’ll be on an equal plain in terms of media exposure, and with a likely Republican majority [in the House] there is a high chance that we could be the conservative consensus candidate and draw votes from both conservatives and Democrats,” he said.

However, in order to pull off the coup, McMullin would need to pick up Utah’s six electoral votes and hope that Trump wins virtually every key battleground, such as Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona and Virginia — states where, save for Ohio, Clinton leads, according to RealClearPolitics averages.

No independent candidate in a general presidential election has won all of a state’s electoral votes since 1968, when segregationist George Wallace won the southern states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

“This strategy requires the race be very close, and right now, frankly, it is not. Clinton is dominating,” McMullin said. “At the very least we hope to send a message to Washington, D.C., the nation and the world that we will stand up for the conservative principles that made this country what it is.”

While McMullin is largely unknown, he has a long background in government. He was formerly the chief policy director for the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also acted as a CIA operations officer, served as a volunteer refugee resettlement officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan and worked in finance as an investment banker.

Though McMullin is officially on the ballot in only 11 states, he is an official write-in candidate in 43 states, including Wyoming.

Contact John Spina at 732-5911 or town@jhnewsandguide.com.