In the wake of several prominent GOP members denouncing Trump in the weeks since he was officially named the Republican nominee for president, a new candidate has entered the race, hoping to give conservatives an alternative in November. Independent candidate Evan McMullin has his work cut out for him in doing so—he’s already missed more than two dozen filing deadlines to get on ballots in states across the nation—but his campaign is confident he’ll be able to make it onto all 50 in time for the election. So, who is this potential dark horse, who’s seemingly emerged out of nowhere to compete with Trump? Here, five things to know about the #NeverTrump candidate du jour.
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Who Is Evan McMullin?
McMullin's LinkedIn profile says that while with the CIA, the candidate "managed clandestine operations related to counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, energy, political stability and counterintelligence, while serving mostly in hostile environments." In early August, McMullin posted the following to Facebook: "Donald Trump continues attacking Muslims, and as a former CIA officer, I'd like all Americans to know the truth: American and other Muslims have played a central role in virtually every counterterrorism win we've had since 9/11. They are an indispensable asset in this fight. Attacking them as a group makes America weaker, not stronger."
He is, however, the chief policy director for the House GOP. Prior to this role, McMullin held a senior adviser position for House Republicans, and between that and his stint with the CIA, he worked at Goldman Sachs. McMullin got his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and went on to earn an MBA from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. He's just 40 years old.
McMullin identifies as Mormon and has strong ties to Utah thanks to his time spent at BYU. This is of note as Trump is not polling well in the state, and prominent Mormon GOP member Mitt Romney still has not backed his party's official candidate.
To date, Americans have only elected two bachelors to the highest office in the country—Grover Cleveland, who married while in office, and James Buchanan.
As so many state ballot deadlines have passed, the most electoral votes any candidate could get at this point is 244, while they would need 270 to be elected. Many are speculating that McMullin's candidacy is more about stopping Trump from being elected than it is about McMullin becoming president.