Utah voters have been receiving pro-Trump robocalls from self-described “white nationalist” William Johnson. Johnson was once listed as a California Trump delegate to the Republican National Convention before the state party removed him from consideration.
The robocalls have targeted independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin. According to The Daily Beast, the calls will go out to 193,000 Utah landlines and were personally paid for by Johnson.
In the call William Johnson makes the claim that McMullin is “is an open borders, amnesty supporter” who “has two mommies.” Johnson goes on to say that “Evan is okay with that. Indeed Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual.” You can listen to the complete call below.
While McMullin does support the Supreme Court ruling, he personally believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. He also denies the claim that he is gay calling it “bigoted” and “deceitful”.
This attack is consistent with @realDonaldTrump's bigoted, deceitful campaign and vision for America. Utahns won't be fooled.
— Evan McMullin (@EvanMcMullin) October 31, 2016
McMullin also notes the timing of the call stating that it comes as Trump “is losing ground in Utah”. McMullin, a Utah native, is doing quite well in his home state and, according to polling, is a real contender to pick up the state’s coveted 6 electoral votes. The most recent Real Clear Politics average has the state listed as “lean Republican” and Trump with 31.3%, McMullin with 25.3, and Clinton with 25.0% of the vote respectively.
Utah is a reliably red state in normal election cycles, but Trump is exceptionally unpopular with the state’s Mormon population, which is the state’s largest religious group. Mormons make up approximately 58% of the state’s population. McMullin is himself a Mormon and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The former CIA analyst has spent the last few weeks working almost exclusively to pick off the state, and his rise in the polls have not gone unnoticed by Trump. Just last week the GOP frontrunner called McMullin Bill Kristol’s “puppet”.
William Johnson was also responsible for robocalls made in Utah criticizing Mitt Romney after his anti-Trump speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics Forum in March.
It is almost impossible to envision Trump winning the White House without winning Utah. On the other hand, if he loses Utah to McMullin but no candidate gets 270 electoral votes, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would have to choose the next President from among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes. It is still unclear how things will shake out in Utah, but it will certainly be interesting. Keep your eyes out for the Beehive state on election night.