It seems a near-impossible hill for Evan McMullin, independent candidate for president, to climb. With the filing deadlines in half of the states already past and several more approaching in the coming days, the unknown 40-year-old former CIA agent doesn't have a straightforward way even to appear on the ballot. Despite the odds, McMullin sounds optimistic.

"We expect to be on a broad number of states' [ballots], and in some especially critical states across the country. And we expect to be competitive. And we do see, even at this late hour, a difficult but very possible route to winning, and that is the goal, and that is what we're going to fight for until the end," McMullin told THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday.

McMullin, a native of Utah, says he will hold a "large event" on Wednesday to "kick off" his presidential campaign in Salt Lake City, where his campaign will be headquartered. His first test of his bid's viability will come August 15, the Utah deadline for acquiring ballot access. McMullin will only need 1,000 signatures to earn it.

But what about getting on the ballot in the other 49 states? McMullin says his team has "studied this extremely closely for months." That team, which includes veteran Republican strategists Rick Wilson and Joel Searby, is almost entirely transplanted from Better For America, a super PAC created to find a conservative independent candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

"It's a multi-pronged strategy that involves getting on ballots through signatures where we can do that. We're also talking to other parties who are interested in what we're doing. We are preparing some legal challenges," McMullin said.

On Wednesday, Searby released a memo that outlines 5 methods for getting McMullin's candidacy in front of voters in all 50 states on Election Day. Fifteen states, for instance, have ballot-access deadlines on or after August 15, in which the McMullin campaign says signature-gathering operations are "already underway." In other states, the campaign is pursuing the nomination of third parties already on the ballot.

In our interview, McMullin declined to comment on which third parties his campaign has discussed cooperating with. "I think I probably ought to not comment any further on those discussions because they're not completed. I don't want to spoil them in any way. But we've had some good discussions that I've been encouraged by, and I'm hopeful that there will be some opportunities for cooperation," he said.

The memo also notes the campaign will be making legal challenges to passed deadlines in several states. "We have great confidence these legal challenges can be successful in many places, as do many of America's leading legal thinkers," writes Searby.

In what McMullin called a "worst-case scenario," the campaign also has plans to mount a write-in effort. "We would pursue this option with an aggressive campaign to educate and motivate voters in target states to write-in Evan McMullin for President," reads Searby's memo.

The McMullin campaign is also holding out hope that Donald Trump could drop his bid for the presidency, leaving the Republican party to search for another nominee at the last minute. "The complete political collapse of Donald Trump could force the Republican Party either in specific states or in its entirety to replace him through legal means as their candidate," Searby writes. "At that time, their legal team will have to sort that out and a strong McMullin candidacy would be a logical choice."