Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent and chief policy director for the House Republican conference, announced a bid for president Monday, offering to be “a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.”
In a statement to ABC News, McMullin, 40, said, “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up. It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us.”
McMullin has never before held elected office but could further fracture a Republican Party that party nominee Donald Trump is attempting to unify. Several Republicans, including National Review writer David French, had considered an alternative bid but ultimately rejected a run.
According to his LinkedIn profile, McMullin was an operations officer on counterterrorism issues for the National Clandestine Service for 11 years, then attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated, like Trump, from Wharton with an MBA in 2011. He then went to work on Capitol Hill after three years as an associate at Goldman Sachs.
McMullin’s campaign could injure Trump at a moment when his support is already slumping. Several polls after both parties’ conventions have shown Hillary Clinton several points ahead of the Republican presidential nominee, and some polls indicate Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson could spoil Trump’s chances of victory in the Southwest.
BuzzFeed News, which broke the news McMullin would run, reported McMullin plans to file paperwork around noon Monday for his presidential bid, with the support of several Republican donors disillusioned by Trump’s candidacy. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough teased McMullin’s campaign in his morning show Monday, saying “it does appear that there is going to be a well-funded independent candidate.”
Though he did not name names during his broadcast, Scarborough said that the candidate would likely attempt to get on 20 to 30 state ballots for the November election.