This Man Could Be President With Just 6 Electoral Votes

FiveThirtyEight lays out the longshot chance for Evan McMullin
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2016 9:18 AM CDT
Updated Oct 16, 2016 4:28 PM CDT
This Man Could Be President With Just 6 Electoral Votes
Evan McMullin, a conservative independent presidential candidate, speaks at a town hall meeting Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016, in Logan, Utah.   (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP)

It may sound nuts, but an analysis at FiveThirtyEight lays out the longshot scenario of how the nation's next president could be ... Evan McMullin. As Benjamin Morris writes, the chances of the independent candidate claiming the White House "are slim, not none." And it's all about Utah: A traditional Mormon conservative, McMullin has positioned himself as an alternative to Trump—and that may be a winning strategy in his home state, where Trump has acknowledged a "tremendous problem" rallying support, per the Deseret News. If McMullin snatches Utah's six electoral votes, he could prevent any candidate from collecting the 270 electoral votes required to win. In that situation, the election would be decided in Congress, opening up the chance for McMullin.

With many House Republicans turning their back on Trump of late, it's possible they'd choose McMullin over the man atop their party's ticket. (Morris lays out in detail the convoluted process in the House and Senate that could conceivably put him over the top.) You'd be forgiven for not recognizing the name—only 52% of Utahans know who McMullin is, based on a recent state poll. (The former CIA officer's bio is here.) Still, McMullin was polling at 22% in the state—ahead of Gary Johnson and trailing the deadlocked Clinton and Trump by just four percentage points. With residents in what one BYU professor describes as a "full-scale revolt" against Trump, there's a real possibility McMullin can take the state, especially if he secures Mitt Romney's endorsement. Read the full analysis here. (More Election 2016 stories.)

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