Native Utahn Evan McMullin announced he was launching an independent bid for the White House earlier this month. Former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt says he’s not sure what to make of McMullin’s quixotic bid.
“I don’t see it as particularly relevant,” said Leavitt. “I think he missed his chance. I think his ability to affect races in a significant way is minimal.”
McMullin has qualified for the Utah ballot, but he has missed the deadline in many other states.
Leavitt said he doesn’t understand what McMullin’s ultimate objective is.
“He may find it appealing to say he ran for president. He wouldn’t be the first one to feel that way. Perhaps he is answering a call we don’t hear.”
Leavitt, who has been a vocal critic of Republican nominee Donald Trump, says he thinks Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson might gain some traction before November’s election.
“I was governor with Gary Johnson. I was also a governor at the same time Bill Weld was governor. They were both very effective governors. They are capable people,” said Leavitt. “Gary Johnson as a history of political thought that’s been a bit outside the mainstream. But, it’s my view that they are going to have a moment in September and October. People are going to look at them. They should be considered legitimate candidates because they are both people with experience and with a history and given the circumstance, I think there will be a lot of people who look at them.”
Johnson is making a concerted push to hit 15% in national polls, which would get him included in the debates with Trump and Hillary Clinton. Leavitt says that’s a distinct possibility.
“I don’t think we should be surprised if they are included in the debates as a result. The truth is I think they would make them far more interesting.”
Leavitt says he’s still undecided on who he will vote for in November, calling his ultimate choice a “game-time decision.”