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Who is Evan McMullin, and how could voters send him to The White House?

For this Independent candidate, a presidency term seems unlikely, but he is still stepping up to the plate

Evan McMullin of Utah, an independent candidate for president of the United States, with running mate Mindy Finn of Texas, speaks to approximately 600 people in the Boise High School auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Boise, Idaho. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/TNS)

This year's general election includes two major presidential candidates with unfavorable ratings. However, a former CIA operative is hoping to save Election Day. Evan McMullin will be available as a "write-in" candidate Nov. 8 in the state of Arizona.

McMullin, 40, is a Utah resident who graduated from Brigham Young University in 2001. McMullin has voted for Republicans for the majority of his life. While he has Republican-leaning principles, he believes the GOP has nominated a candidate who is against Republican values.

McMullin supports securing the U.S.-Mexican border. However, he views mass deportation, such as Trump has proposed, as an "impractical" method for regulating immigration. He also touts himself as a proud gun owner, although he has made clear that he would create a stricter path for those with a criminal background to purchase a weapon in the U.S.

McMullin doesn't shy away from his conservative values, but he has also constantly called out Republican nominee Donald Trump for his stance on immigration and his support for a national Muslim ban. McMullin believes Trump's principles do not fall in line with traditional conservative ideas

In fact, Trump has taken a shot at McMullin already.

"The guy takes away votes from me, you know, but we're still going to win Utah," Trump said in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News. 

However, Evan McMullin didn't waste anytime in responding with a hard-hitting tweet to drop the mic. 

David Adesnik, the national policy director for McMullin's campaign, said McMullin did not jump into the presidential race to challenge Trump before the Republican National Convention in August because McMullin felt there were decent Republican candidates capable of eventually defeating Trump.

When this didn't happen, McMullin couldn't resist himself, so he ran for office just three weeks after the Republican National Convention declared Donald Trump its nominee. 

"There were a lot of decent Republicans running in the primary, and Evan didn't feel the need to step up when they had governors and senators running, but as soon as the party nominated someone who's unfit and unqualified, Evan thought there had to be an alternative," David said. 

There are voters that appreciate Evan McMullin while still acknowledging that realistically he has a very limited chance of winning this election, which is the primary reason many will vote for a "safer" choice. 

One of those voters is Griffin Guzaitis, an economics freshman who said he likes what McMullin stands for, but has already turned in his early ballot in favor of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"I respect him," Griffin said. "I respect his candidacy. I hope he has a solid outcome, but I feel more aligned with Hillary."

The Independent candidate appears to have some work to do even among Independent voters.

Megan Simmonds, a business administration junior and registered Independent, said she is unsatisfied with the two major party candidates on the ballot.

"There are clear, bad things about both of them, and neither of them are fit to run my country," she said. 

McMullin has one possible path to becoming the next U.S. president. 

Throughout recent polls for the election, a few traditionally red states have turned into potential swing states.  

However, if Donald Trump is able to win current key battleground states such as Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and North Carolina, with the addition of McMullin maintaining his momentum in his home state, the final result could leave both Trump and Clinton just short of 270 to claim the presidency. 

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If both major party candidates fall short of 270 electoral votes, the decision falls to the House of Representatives. In this case, the House would be unlikely to elect Clinton because it is currently dominated by Republicans.

That said, Republicans in the U.S. House, such as Arizona Senator John McCain, have not been consistent with their support for Trump. This situation could open doors for Independent McMullin to be offered the executive position. 

According to his website, Evan McMullin's name won't be in print on Arizona ballots. However, he did qualify to become a "write-in" candidate in Arizona. 

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