Former CIA officer and independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin says he’s turned his home state of Utah into a three-way race because “people here are principled conservatives.”
A Y2 Analytics poll released this week had Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with 26 points apiece, with McMullin coming in at 22 percent. A new Monmouth poll has the split at 34 percent Trump, 28 percent Clinton and 20 percent McMullin.
McMullin told Fox News that he’s “very humbled” by the numbers but feels he has room to grow with only 52 percent name recognition in the state right now.
“People are looking more closely at the candidates as we approach Election Day. And they’re not liking, especially here in Utah, what they’re seeing in Donald Trump,” he said.
Asked whether he could be a spoiler who tips the state to Hillary Clinton, McMullin replied that “the Constitution allows me to run for the presidency of the United States, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”
“I’m a candidate like they are. And it’s a three-way race in Utah between Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and me. And I believe, with the support of Utahans, that we can prevail here and that we will prevail,” he added. “So, that’s what this is about. If anything, Donald Trump is a spoiler for conservatism. He’s a spoiler for the Republican Party. It’s terrible that, here in the state of Utah, he’s backed by hundreds of millions of dollars and the RNC, the Republican Party in general, and he can’t even beat Hillary Clinton decisively.”
“So, that’s on him, not on me. I’m the only conservative in this race, and I’m standing for principles that this country was founded upon and that are key to our future. And a lot of people here in Utah and elsewhere especially in the Mountain West see that and want to support it.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hasn’t endorsed McMullin, but the campaign is using some of the 2012 GOP nominee’s advisers and has paid for use of his email list.
McMullin called it “magical” that “our online engagement has increased by over 1600 percent” over the past four days, something he believes could be “in response to the Trump sex tapes and these other revelations about his sexual abuse, alleged, of women through time.”
“People are looking for another option and realizing that principles really do matter. They matter in life, in our daily lives. But they also matter for our leadership,” he said.
McMullin is also polling well in Idaho, thinks he has “great potential in Wyoming, as well as Colorado” and has “great support in Virginia, Minnesota, and elsewhere.”
“This election is highly, highly volatile with two major party candidates who are highly combustible,” he said. “We’re catching fire right now. And it’s something truly tremendous.”
The campaign currently has ballot access in 34 states; McMullin thinks that “by the time we get to Election Day, it will be 40 to 45. We think probably 43.”