Evan McMullin was a rising star in politics and seen as a future standard-bearer of the conservative movement. Now, he may be imploding.
In the 2016 election, the #NeverTrump folks from the right first turned to Gary Johnson, but his woeful lack of foreign policy savvy was too glaring to be ignored. Then, the 41-year-old former CIA officer turned investment banker from Utah stepped in at the 11th hour as an Independent.
Calling himself “the only conservative” in the presidential race, Evan McMullin appealed to traditional, small-government, fiscal conservatives. He gave Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a run for their money in the state of Utah, and swiftly became the toast of the talk show circuit.
He didn’t win, of course. Yet this ambitious fresh face has been a vocal critic of Not My President Donald Trump, his racism, his alarming authoritarianism, and his assaults on the U.S. Constitution.
Now the fledgling politician is mulling a run for Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-Utah) seat, who just announced he’s not running in 2016. There’s just one problem. It turns out this “fiscal conservative” owes various contractors and vendors nearly $670,000 for his campaign.
Evan McMullin’s campaign owes $670,000 he has no way of paying.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
McMullin’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission shows six companies with outstanding bills, the largest of which is the Florida-based law firm Hopping, Green & Sams, which is owed nearly $520,000. The firm declined to comment on the bills.
Other presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton for 2008, often wind up heavily in debt. But they usually have their respective parties and a campaign infrastructure to help raise and pay off what they owe.
Not so with Evan McMullin. Tanner Leatham’s company, Gathering Inc. gathered signatures to get McMullin on the ballot, and still hasn’t been paid their $10,000.
“From what I know, they do not have any capability or plans to pay all the vendors they still owe money. They have told me they cannot pay us what they owe.”
To be fair, Evan McMullin’s campaign manager Joel Serby insists their team is working out a way to pay off their debt.
“Responding to a unique moment, we ran a campaign on a short time frame and without traditional party support. We’re proud of what we did, running a lean operation and relying on mainly small individual donors, but ultimately fell short of fundraising goals. We are working hard to do what we can within the law to retire as much debt as possible.”
This unpaid debt could damage Evan McMullin’s credibility and promising future in politics if he doesn’t figure out a way to pay it back soon. And that would be a shame: Traditional, free-market, small government conservatives who normally vote Republican have nowhere to go right now.
And compared to the bigoted, bomb-throwing, “Christian” zealots in Donald Trump’s “unified Republican government,” a nice conservative who merely wants to make our government small enough to drown in the bathtub is looking mighty good right now.
Although he had no chance of winning, he put a fresh face on traditional conservative ideals, kept his religion (Church of Latter Day Saints) out of his politics, and talked about liberty, equality, and free markets instead of building a wall to keep Mexicans out.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Evan McMullin, here’s a video with Nightline‘s profile from August.
Featured image: Evan McMullin via Facebook.