How Evan McMullin Could Cost Trump The Presidency

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Elena Weissmann Contributor
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It’s unlikely that Evan McMullin, the former CIA staffer who just announced his bid for the presidency, can swipe votes from Republican nominee Donald Trump in any state — except one.

Utah is a state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1964, and yet it has taken on a distinct dislike for the GOP nominee: June polls showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tied with 35 percent each, with Libertarian Gary Johnson drawing in 13 percent. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, this unique aversion to Trump is due to his “brash swagger” and “outlandish behavior” in a state full of Mormons.

“It’s interesting that Libertarian Gary Johnson is polling in double digits,” Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute, told the Tribune. “Clearly, there is a segment of the Utah population that is still willing to consider a third-party candidate.”

That third-party candidate may very well be Evan McMullin come November.

A Mormon himself, McMullin was born in Provo, Utah and studied at Brigham Young University, a private university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It would not be so surprising if McMullin gained the support of fellow Mormons Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, two of the most outspoken anti-Trump politicians in the GOP.

Given Utah’s dislike for Trump and McMullin’s perfect Utah pedigree, it’s possible that McMullin could draw a significant number of Republicans away from Trump – throwing the ruby-red state to Clinton.

This could cost Trump the presidency, even with wins in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

A McMullin win in Utah, however, would require a lot to happen in the coming months. The latest poll from Dan Jones & Associates shows Trump currently leading the Beehive State with 37 percent, Clinton pulling in 25 percent, and Johnson with 16 percent. In order for Utah to go blue this election cycle, McMullin would have to siphon off a significant chunk of Trump’s support, tipping Utah towards a Clinton plurality.

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