A former CIA operative and obscure Capitol Hill staffer by the name of Evan McMullin has begun a longshot conservative bid against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein.
Over the weekend in the Washington Post, foreign policy reporter Josh Rogin (incidentally a personal friend of McMullin) told readers the story of what inspired McMullin to undertake the mammoth task:
Why blow up your life for a Hail Mary run at the presidency, I asked him. Why put yourself and your family through the scrutiny and invasiveness that such an effort requires? Someone in the party had to step up to directly oppose Trump, he said. "Someone needed to do it, it needed to happen soon, and no one else was going to do it," he told me in an interview. "It became a question of whether I would do what I have the opportunity to do and what needed to be done, and at the end of the day I could not say no." ... To understand that optimism, you have to understand Evan McMullin. Unlike his backers, he's not trying to save the Republican Party or the conservative movement. He's doing what he has always done, volunteering for service to play whatever role he can to fight what he views as a threat to America. In this case, that threat is Trump. McMullin grew up poor on a small farm in Auburn, Wash., in a religious Mormon family. His mother bought groceries in bulk and sold them out of their garage to make ends meet. She later married a woman, whom she now lives with. (McMullin's family gave me permission to reveal that here for the first time.) He has never had a drink or done any drugs. His upbringing taught him conservatism, discipline and tolerance.
After leaving the CIA, McMullin went to business school, worked at Goldman Sachs, and got into politics volunteering his time for Mitt Romney's policy shop. Which brought him to Congress, as an aide working on foreign policy.
Frustrated by what he saw as America's tragic neglect of the suffering of the Syrian people, he was doing everything he could to raise awareness of the Syrian conflict and push Congress to take action. McMullin was instrumental in bringing to Congress a Syrian defector nicknamed "Caesar," who fled his country with more than 55,000 photographs showing evidence of mass torture and murder of more than 11,000 civilians in custody in Bashar al-Assad's prisons. "It was inspiring to get to know a very honest, simple man who was driven by his convictions that something needed to be done," he said. "That's the sort of thing that I respect and that I would expect from myself."
Presently, McMullin is only on the ballot in two states. A late start has hampered opportunities to easily get on more ballots, which is one of many short term goals for the McMullin campaign. But, when you have 77 days until an election, every goal is a short term goal.
You can read the whole profile here.