McMullin for President Committee, Inc.


Stand Up America PAC

Conventional Wisdom

- A clear conservative voice in the race.
- Knowledge of policy, international experience.

- An unknown.
- Late start.
- Will be on the ballot in a limited number of states.
- Does he have enough experience?

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

-Announcement letter Aug. 8, 2016.

On August 8, 2016, declaring he could "no longer stand on the sidelines," Evan McMullin a conservative 40-year old congressional staffer and former CIA officer announced an independent run for president.1  His relative obscurity and late start posed tremendous difficulties, but 2016 was a most unusual election year and his campaign had a clear strategy.  McMullin aimed to win at least some electoral votes to establish credibility, and, according to his chief strategist, "The goal is to prevent either major-party candidate from reaching 270 electoral votes and send the election to the House of Representatives (+)."  McMullin envisaged a "new conservative movement," uniting around liberty and tolerance. 

McMullin was referred to as the #NeverTrump candidate.  Throughout the Republican primary campaign, many conservatives sought to unify behind one or another of the GOP candidates, and, when that failed, to draft a credible individual to run as an independent or third party candidate.  Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol was a leader in the effort to find a conservative alternative to Trump.  In early February a group began "looking at the viability, logistics and specifics of an independent run for President."  The name of Condoleezza Rice was floated as a possibility, but she was not interested.2  Others sought to draft Sen. Ben Sasse (NE).3  In June 2016 John Kingston II, an investor and philantropist launched Better for America, a 501(c)(4) organization which worked to achieve ballot access so that a to-be-determined credible independent candidate might be able to run.  BFA, a placeholder organization, gained ballot status in just a couple of states, Arkansas and New Mexico, before announcing on Aug. 23 that it would "end its candidate recruitment and ballot access efforts (+)."  Several of the people who worked on BFA aligned with McMullin.  McMullin's chief strategist Joel Searby was chief strategist for BFA and started work on the independent project in February.  Kahlil Byrd, an advisor to BFA, co-founded Stand Up America, a super PAC supporting McMullin (+).  The McMullin candidacy represented the cumlination of months of work and his position as conservative alternative to Trump drew more notice to his campaign than one would expect given his experience.

The campaign sought to gain ballot status in as many states as possible. 
The Independence Party of Minnesota announced its endorsement of McMullin on August 13 (+).  The BFA parties in New Mexico and Arkansas endorsed McMullin.  In a September event, McMullin lauded the efforts of volunteers and grassroots supporters who are helping with petitioning.  In states where ballot access was closed, McMullin's campaign pursued the write-in option.  He appeared on the ballot in 11 states and as an official write-in candidate in more than 30 states.4

McMullin sought unsuccessfully (+) to organize a debate with the Libertarian candidate, former Gov. Gary Johnson, who was also vying for the anti-Trump vote.
  On October 6 McMullin announced Mindy Finn, founder and president of Empowered Women, as his choice for running mate; up to that time Nathan Johnson served as a stand-in, and his name appeared on ballots

McMullin focused particularly on the Mountain West states of Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and at the top of the list was Utah.  Dissatisfaction with Trump was very high there;
in the March 22 Republican presidential preference caucus he obtained just 14.03% of the vote and finished third.  McMullin was born in Provo, and as a Mormon can appeal to the state's large Mormon population.  On Sept. 7 his campaign opened its national headquarters in Salt Lake City.  (Salt Lake City is also where the Johnson/Weld Libertarian campaign has its headquarters). 

McMullin obtained 725,902 votes nationally (0.53%), finishing fifth.  One third of his votes came from Utah, where he tallied 243,690 votes (21.31%), finishing third.  After the campaign, in Jan. 2017 McMullin and Finn announced a 501(c)(4) Stand Up Republic "to build and organize a grassroots movement in defense of liberty, equality, and truth in America (

1.  Joel Searby.  "How Evan McMullin's Campaign Launched in Three Days,"  Dec. 1, 2016 blog post at joelsearby.com.

2.  Joel Searby. "Memo to Interested Parties Re Condoleezza Rice for President,"  March 10, 2016.  ...obtained by Politico

3. The effort to draft Sen. Ben Sasse (NE) picked up after Trump became the presumptive nominee (+). 

4. As of Oct. 20...
    Officially on the ballot in: MN, CO, SC, LA, UT, AR, IA, ID, VA, NM and KY. [11]
    Write-in: AL, AK, AZ, CT, DE, GA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, ND, OH, OR, PA, RI, TN, TX, VT, WV, WA and WI. [27]
    Paperwork submitted: CA.
    Legal team pursuing: KS, MO, WY and DC
    Not eligible for write-in: FL, HI, MS, IN, NV, NC, OK and SD.

  this page last revised May 13, 2017