When former CIA agent and independent presidential hopeful Evan McMullin announced a long-shot bid for the presidency Monday, he faced a hurdle even larger than the two major party candidates: getting on the ballot in the first place.
McMullin, who said in announcing his candidacy he wanted to “give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President,” has already missed about half the states’ deadlines for being listed as a choice for president.
But McMullin’s chief strategist Joel Searby wrote Wednesday that the candidate plans to tackle getting on the ballot state by state, with at least five options for how the candidate “will compete nationally.”
Among the options is one that may be out of his control: “the complete collapse of Donald Trump.”
Trump, whose position in national polls has flagged after a series of controversies, trails Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by several points, and Searby suggested that a possible Trump implosion “could force the Republican Party either in specific states or in its entirety to replace him through legal means as their candidate.”
“At that time, their legal team will have to sort that out and a strong McMullin candidacy would be a logical choice,” Searby added.
The memo, which was published by Politico, offers four other options, which include gathering signatures in 15 states to get on the ballot, running as a minor party’s candidate and encouraging voters to write in McMullin’s name if those efforts fail.
For states with deadlines that have already passed, Searby wrote that the campaign plans to sue for access “on constitutional grounds,” claiming “great confidence these legal challenges can be successful.”