Former CIA operative Evan McMullin is aiming to disrupt the presidential election by robbing both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump of Utah and possibly other Mountain West states. In doing so, he would become the first Independent candidate to win electoral votes in almost 50 years. At the very least, McMullin could also realistically flip deep-red Utah from Trump to Clinton; Mormon voters have been hesitant to rally behind Trump, and McMullin is a practicing Mormon himself.
Any way you put it, McMullin is likely making Trump worried. RealClearPolitics' average has Trump up six points, trailed by McMullin, while other polls have Trump just two or three points ahead. An Emerson poll in mid-October actually showed McMullin up four points on Trump.
Trump has lashed out at McMullin, claiming McMullin "can't do anything" and painting him as "this character that's running all over the state … going from coffee shop to coffee shop." McMullin doesn't seem terribly concerned about Trump's ire, though:
In an interview for Politico's "Open Mike" video series, McMullin, 40 — a practicing Mormon who went to Brigham Young University and on a Mormon mission to Brazil — needled Trump again.
"The funny thing is a lot of people in Utah are Mormons, and they don't drink coffee," he said, sitting down over hummus and ice water at the Hawk 'n' Dove on Capitol Hill. "So, we've done zero campaigning in coffee shops. If Donald Trump were truly interested in the state and in the voters, he might know a thing or two about that."
McMullin added with a smile that dessert is "what we do in Utah. We have a lot of desserts, a lot of sugar-infused treats, and that's what we do instead of coffee." [Politico]
Read more about McMullin's long shot candidacy, and how he could still tip the election, at Politico.