Despite multiple attempts at drafting, soliciting, cajoling, arm twisting, pleading, and oftentimes begging, conservative media and establishment types repeatedly failed to draft a third party candidate into the presidential race.
Right when all seemed lost for any third party movement to get on individual state ballots, raise the money necessary, or hire enough staff, Evan McMullin decided to throw his hat into the circus ring.
Facing long odds, McMullin’s campaign does seem a bit surreal in the sense that he’s actually running a bread and butter Republican campaign. The former CIA agent subscribes to a hawkish foreign policy and generally tows the traditional party line on social and domestic issues. Given the unpopularity of the current GOP nominee, one argument goes that McMullin gives an added incentive for disaffected GOPers to go out and vote.
One of the main issues facing his campaign is ballot access. According to a campaign memo provided to GeorgiaPol, McMullin’s team has succeeded in getting him on the ballot in Utah, Colorado, Iowa and Louisiana. While that’s only a whopping total of 29 electoral votes, they are also collecting signatures in Minnesota, Virginia, Idaho, and Wyoming. Assuming that they acquire ballot access in all of those, their total number of contested electoral votes increases to 59.
The memo goes on to say that their grassroots efforts are looking at getting on ballots in Oregon, North Dakota, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Arizona for another 35 electoral votes. Despite facing a steep uphill climb, the former policy director for the House GOP conference may be in position to contest 94 electoral votes by September 9th.
The campaign contends that in concert with the ballot initiatives described above, their efforts to be listed as the presidential candidate for other, smaller national parties will serve as their vehicle to even more ballots, including Florida and South Carolina.
Interestingly enough, the McMullin campaign readily admits it is counting on denying both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the necessary 270 electoral votes needed to become president, asserting that McMullin’s “unifying message will prevail” once the presidency is kicked to the House of Representatives.
Perhaps acknowledging the tough road ahead, the end of the memo says that two points of their “end game” are to 1) Build up for a future, presumably one that no longer has only two major parties, and 2) standing up for what is right.
Conservatives wanting a clear conscience after polls close on November 8th may welcome a clear contrast from two very unpopular major party nominees. Indeed, McMullin’s positive message of integrity, respect, principle, and inclusiveness seems to be in direct opposition to what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are offering the electorate with roughly two and a half months to Election Day.