Perhaps the biggest disappointment of this election cycle has been the rapid rise and subsequent self-induced fall of breakout political star Evan McMullin. When the Utah native and independent conservative announced his candidacy just months before the election many disillusioned voters were excited about his brand of independent politics, common sense approach to economics and “outsider” status. Although his success was clearly unlikely given the timeframe, McMullin became a relief option for those who just couldn’t bring themselves to pull the lever for Clinton or Trump but who felt strongly about their duty to vote.
Unfortunately, McMullin has squandered the lion’s share of that good will and excitement since that time by sticking less to his constitutional arguments and banking on a new status as a Twitter warrior of the #NeverTrump variety. While his anti-Trump sentiments are certainly shared by many on both sides of the aisles, his relentless publicity-hungry tweeting has become quite unsavory and tragically transparent. It turns out McMullin is just like every other politician – self-promoting and power hungry. McMullin fans have abandoned his cause in droves and the once-hailed “fresh face” of politics is now sullied.
Now comes news that McMullin isn’t only a self-promoting narcissist, he’s also a deadbeat. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that McMullin’s campaign still has about $670,000 in outstanding debt, including nearly half a million owed to his Florida legal firm Hopping, Green & Sams.
“From what I know, they do not have any capability or plans to pay all the vendors they still owe money,” says Tanner Leatham, owner and CEO of Utah-based Gathering Inc., which solicited signatures to get McMullin on the ballot in five states and is still owed more than $10,000. “They have told me they cannot pay us what they owe.”
Leatham adds that for a small, startup firm, unpaid bills sting even more.
McMullin’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission shows six companies with outstanding bills, the largest of which is the Florida-based law firm Hopping, Green & Sams, which is owed nearly $520,000. The firm declined to comment on the bills.
While it isn’t uncommon for failed campaigns to owe large sums of money once the votes are counted, McMullin’s branded reputation as the only “honest candidate” and defender of economic truths makes these large debts to small business operations that much more egregious. Nearly six months after the election McMullin is still fundraising on a steady stream of #NeverTrump and anti-GOP but has yet to pay down his debt. His manager claims the team is working to pay the debt as quickly as possible.
“Responding to a unique moment, we ran a campaign on a short time frame and without traditional party support,” Searby said in a statement. “We’re proud of what we did, running a lean operation and relying on mainly small individual donors, but ultimately fell short of fundraising goals. We are working hard to do what we can within the law to retire as much debt as possible.”
Searby added that, “We’re grateful for the many people who make sacrifices to join our cause.”
No doubt many of those same people who sacrificed for the promise of McMullin’s candidacy are now experiencing deep regrets for encouraging a candidate who ultimately became the same publicity-seeking, self-absorbed politician as the very ones he originally so passionately opposed.