Why A New Presidential Candidate Has Little Chance Of Winning Idaho

Aug 9, 2016

With just 90 days left until the general election, a new candidate has joined the race for president – in a last-minute challenge to Donald Trump. 

Credit Andrew Dallos / Flickr Creative Commons

Forty-year-old Evan McMullin is a final hope for some conservatives unhappy with the GOP choice for president. The relatively unknown Republican has been a CIA operative, a House GOP adviser and worked for Goldman Sachs.

Some political analysts say McMullin’s Mormon faith and mainstream conservative ideals could appeal to voters in states like Idaho and Utah – states where Trump lost spring primaries. 

But to Idaho GOP chairman Steve Yates, McMullin’s candidacy will have no effect on the election. 

“Well I think this is basically a big joke," says Yates. "There’s no way this is a serious bid.” 

Yates – who's also Mormon – says McMullin’s religious views alone won’t change the minds of conservatives in Idaho who may not be thrilled with the idea of a Trump presidency. 

“I’m LDS, and I’m going to vote for the person that’s the nominee for my party. And I have no problem with that whatsoever.” 

Yates says despite any misgivings about the GOP nominee, Idaho conservatives still see Trump as the best option to beat Hillary Clinton.

Boise State University’s Corey Cook says he’s not surprised conservatives are putting forward an alternative to Trump. But he is surprised by the timing. 

“That it occurred so late in the game is surprising," says the Boise State Dean of Public Service. "In many states, the deadline for an independent candidate to appear on the ballot is in some cases a week away.”  

In Idaho, the ballot deadline is August 24 and 1,000 signatures would need to be gathered between now and then. The Utah ballot deadline is August 15. Cook says even if McMullin gets on the ballot, the chances of him siphoning votes in either of these states is low.

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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