Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin fell short of his goal of taking Utah away from Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, despite widespread dissatisfaction for both candidates.
The mood at Evan McMullin’s campaign watch party in downtown Salt Lake began upbeat enough.
Several hundred supporters walked a red carpet, snapped selfies and wore glow sticks while dancing to classic rock songs from a local cover band.
That changed as Donald Trump started racking up a string of victories throughout the night.
Shortly after Utah was called for Trump, McMullin admitted he had not succeeded in his strategy to block Trump’s path to the presidency.
“It looks like we may have come short on that tonight,” said McMullin in a brief concession speech.
But McMullin reiterated his criticism of Trump as a divisive figure, and says he will continue to fight for better leadership.
“Some will wonder if our effort will end tonight. They will wonder if this is the end of our work. It is not. This marks the beginning of a new conservative movement.”
McMullin had been competitive in polls in mid-to-late October, only to see his lead slip after the Utah GOP, aided by a visit by Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence, urged Republicans to “come home” to Trump.
The tally at the end of the night showed McMullin fell to third place behind Clinton and Trump.