A few weeks ago, we reported that former CIA agent, Evan McMullin, announced that he was going to make an independent run for president. We expected the Weekly Standard to be all over the story, since editor Bill Kristol had tried so hard to find someone, anyone to run as an independent Republican, against Trump. Silence. Then, finally, the Weekly Standard grudgingly quoted a story from the Washington Post (yes, that Washington Post), adding only a few words of its own on the topic.
For all the hype Kristol gave the NeverTrump movement, it’s surprising that he was almost totally mum about McMullin. In the Post story, quoted in the Weekly Standard, McMullin was pretty blunt.
Donald Trump is an unstable, bigoted, big-government isolationist. Hillary Clinton is an ethically challenged advocate of a large welfare state. Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is a small-government, free-market isolationist who wants to legalize drugs. So where is a center-right voter, someone looking for a candidate of sound character who believes in free markets but also strong U.S. leadership in the world, to go?
Evan McMullin, an independent Republican, says he’s their man. It’s important, he says, “for the sake of the country, but especially for Republicans,” to show they put the interests of the country first. . . He has called Trump “inhuman” and has said that “by undermining our ideals, he weakens us on a much larger scale than even a terrorist organization that might carry out these horrendous attacks.” He has argued that Trump is “weak” and his campaign is “melting down.”
McMullin is pro-free trade and wants border security but derides the idea of deporting 11 million people. He favors keeping Guantanamo Bay prison open and supports the Republican House plan on tax reform. Like many younger conservatives, he is pro-life but thinks that it is “time to move on” when it comes to gay marriage. . .
He is not Pollyanna-ish about his chances, but he is serious. He’s on the ballot in Iowa and Utah so far. In Minnesota, he’s on the line for the Independence Party. “We’re going to pursue ballot access in all 50 states,” he says. “Ideally, we’d like to be on the ballot everywhere.” He is prepared to use petitions, legal challenges or write-in campaigns depending on the state requirements. Already on the ballot in Utah, where he was born and educated at Brigham Young University, he may help deprive Trump of a deep-red state.
We have said elsewhere that Trump has alienated Utah’s favorite son, Mitt Romney. Romney is rumored to be considering an endorsement of Libertarian Gary Johnson, but now that McMullin, a fellow Mormon, is in the race, he might endorse him. This is critically important, because Utah is a solid red state, so it’s not likely to go for Hillary. If it goes for either Johnson or McMullin, that candidate will have a genuine shot at becoming president, if the election is thrown into the House of Representatives.
You can read the details here.
That’s because if no candidate receives 270 Electoral College votes, the House of Representatives will choose the president from the three candidates with the most Electors. So the third candidate only really needs one Electoral College vote to have a shot at becoming president. And that’s good for a third-party candidate, because getting on the ballot ain’t easy.
In order to get on the ballot, a candidate for president of the United States must meet a variety of complex, state-specific filing requirements and deadlines. . . There are three basic methods by which an individual may become a candidate for president of the United States.
1. An individual can seek the nomination of a political party. . .
2. An individual can run as an independent. . . For the 2016 presidential contest, it was estimated that an independent candidate would need to collect in excess of 880,000 signatures in order to appear on the general election ballot in every state.
3. An individual can run as a write-in candidate. In 34 states, a write-in candidate must file some paperwork in advance of the election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted. . .
The Constitution does dictate how electors must cast their votes. But some states do. . .
Examples of state laws on presidential electors
Michigan: “Refusal or failure to vote for the candidates for president and vice-president appearing on the Michigan ballot of the political party which nominated the elector constitutes a resignation from the office of elector, his vote shall not be recorded and the remaining electors shall forthwith fill the vacancy.” (Michigan State Statute 168.47)
Florida: “Each such elector shall be a qualified elector of the party he or she represents who has taken an oath that he or she will vote for the candidates of the party that he or she is nominated to represent.” (Florida State Statute 103.021)
Colorado: “Each presidential elector shall vote for the presidential candidate and, by separate ballot, vice-presidential candidate who received the highest number of votes at the preceding general election in this state.” (Colorado State Statute 1.4.304)
Although McMullin’s best shot is Utah, he’s still trying to get on all 50 state ballots—one way or another, according to RedState.
McMullin’s campaign opted to pay the $500 qualifying fee, instead of gathering 5,000 signatures, due Friday, to get on the Louisiana ballot. Of the four candidates that filed and qualified Friday — McMullin, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle, and Veterans Party candidate Chris Keniston — “no one qualified for president using signatures, everyone qualified paying the amount of money that was required,” said Louisiana secretary of state press secretary Meg Casper.
However, McMullin gathered the 1500 signatures representing 10 counties needed to get on the Iowa ballot, the Iowa secretary of state’s office confirmed. “They brought in their paperwork 11 minutes before the deadline,” said communications director Kevin Hall. “They turned in a lot more signatures than they needed.”
Meanwhile, ConservativePapers is also reporting progress.
Last night, Evan McMullin, Independent Presidential Candidate, was able to get added to the Colorado state ballot. . . It is also now being reported today that he is unofficially on the ballot in Utah as well. Here is what Utah had to say about the petition-gathering process for Evan’s campaign:
“This is unheard of. You can tell there is something different about this.” –Local Utah county clerk staffer says our ballot petition signatures have an “unhead of” 90%+ verify rate. . .
From his campaign:
Just today, we got word that Evan has earned the nomination of the Independence Party of Minnesota! Working with them, we’ll give everyone a chance to vote for a candidate they can be proud of this Fall!
The Hill says McMullin missed Tennessee’s deadline, but he’s going after California.
Politico noted that Tennessee’s ballot threshold is lower than four states McMullin did qualify for.
McMullin’s campaign said last week it is not ruling out a lawsuit after missing the cutoff for appearing on California’s ballot.
“In California, both the legal and the write-in options remain for us and we intend to pursue any and all options to ensure Californians get a chance to vote for Evan McMullin in November,” chief strategist Joel Searby said in an email on Aug. 15.
Is McMullin serious about winning? Apparently.
“It’s a challenge. But in this day and age with digital media and the opportunities, I think it’s very possible. I went from being someone people didn’t know because I wanted it that way to someone who is engaging nationally and being considered seriously.
A few days ago Google told my campaign more people were searching for my name than Donald’s. And people are hearing more about me every day and continuing to want to learn more.”
“In the first 24 hours, we had 60,000 volunteers. It’s really tens and tens of thousands of people across the country. A crazy number of people for just a few days.
As far as funding, we are raising a lot of money from individual donations of people who are supporting this effort. And we are talking to major donors and moving those relationships forward now that we are in the race.”