Utah presidential candidate could impact outcome

Evan McMullin is gaining in the Utah polls on Trump and Clinton.

BOISE -- A little-known Utah conservative could cause a massive shake up in the battle for president. As the dramatic back and forth between the top two candidates continues, independent candidate Evan McMullin is quickly catching up to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the Utah polls.

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win and Utah has six votes up for grabs. If Evan McMullin wins that state and it's a close race between Trump and Clinton, neither could get the 270 votes needed to get to the White House.

McMullin is a former CIA counter intelligence officer and Republican house staffer. He's LDS and an independent candidate from Utah.

"It is not inconceivable in this wild crazy year that Evan McMullin might actually win Utah and their six electoral votes," said KTVB political analyst Dr. Jim Weatherby.

Weatherby says as more Republicans leaders pull their support of Donald Trump, they're looking for another conservative option.

"The two top candidates are so disliked, so distrusted, that people might be looking for a safe place and an Evan McMullin might be that," said Weatherby.

Right now in Utah, Weatherby say polls shows that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are tied at 26 percent, and McMullin is close behind at 22 percent.

Weatherby says there's a chance that McMullin could win Utah and it's six electoral votes -- votes that could be needed by Clinton or Trump to get the 270 to secure the top spot.

"Assuming it's a very close race, those six electoral votes might deny Clinton and Trump a majority of the 270 votes necessary to be elected president," said Weatherby.

If that happens, Weatherby says the House of Representatives gets to decide our next president, with one vote from every state.

McMullin's name is also on the ballot in 10 others states, including Idaho.

"Obviously a lot of attention has been given to the two major candidates, Idaho has a history of being a little more absent minded so we'll see how that works out," said Phil McGrane with Ada County Elections.

There will also be other options on the ballot in Idaho on November 8th.

"In addition to the eight candidates that appear on the ballot, we also have 37 write-in candidates who have filed in the state of Idaho, so it's a huge laundry list of names of people who want to be considered," said McGrane.

McMullin is making a trip to Idaho Friday evening. His spokesperson tells us he will be in Idaho Falls until Saturday morning, meeting with his supporters and volunteers on his campaign.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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