Elections

Exclusive: Former GOP Senator Tried To Convince Constitution Party Nominee To Drop Out For McMullin

Former Republican Washington Sen. Slade Gorton attempted to convince Constitution Party presidential nominee Darrell Castle to drop out so that independent conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin could have more ballot access.

Gorton, who endorsed McMullin, and Castle both described to The Daily Caller what happened in early December. “What he had in mind was that I would drop out of the race and Evan McMullin would take over my ballot line and would be the Constitution Party’s candidate,” Castle said about a phone call that he says took shortly after McMullin announced his candidacy on Aug.8.

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 29: Slade Gorton, a 9/11 Commission member, testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs September 29, 2004 in Washington, DC. The hearing dealt with efforts to identify and combat terrorist financing. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 29: Slade Gorton, a 9/11 Commission member, testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs September 29, 2004 in Washington, DC. The hearing dealt with efforts to identify and combat terrorist financing. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Darrell Caste (youtube screenshot/ Castle 2016)

Darrell Caste (youtube screenshot/ Castle 2016)

Castle was on the ballot in 22 states and McMullin was on the ballot in 11 states. McMullin ended up finishing with a little over 725,000 votes and Castle received almost 180,000. Castle told TheDC the plan was that, “the money would be poured into Evan’s campaign which would in effect be supporting the Constitution Party and the Constitution Party would become famous because of it.”

The former three-term senator Gorton told TheDC that Castle’s account wasn’t “quite” accurate. He then described telling Castle that if he let McMullin on his ballot line in several states, the Constitution Party would receive more money and votes, which is essentially Castle’s story.

“I told him that McMullin was on the ballot in only 11 states but was a serious alternative candidate to Trump and Clinton and that if he permitted McMullin’s name to be substituted for his in the many states in which the Constitution party was on the ballot that party would receive far more votes and more contributions. He was not interested and got very few votes,” Gorton told TheDC.

Castle thought Gorton’s idea was “insulting” as he was preparing for his own campaign. He also added, “This man has no idea how the American political system works. I was legitimately nominated for my party just as Trump was Clinton was by their parties and I can’t just say, ‘Okay I quit I’m going to give my nomination to this other person.’ It just doesn’t work that way.”

He said that’s why Gorton’s offer stood “zero chance.” Castle added, “It kinda showed me what that typical group of people thought of me my party and that whole process.”