BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — It's Friday night in Utah, and more than 100 people have crowded into a room at a community center about an hour from Salt Lake City.
Teenagers, children, parents, and grandparents have all come out to hear Evan McMullin make his case, days before Election Day, for why Utah voters should shun the two major-party candidates and cast a ballot for him.
The independent presidential candidate from Provo, Utah, joined the race three months ago as a way to protest Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.
His campaign got off to a slow start, but then the "Access Hollywood" tape leaked. Trump was heard on the 2005 recording making lewd comments about women and bragging about how his celebrity status allowed him to grope them.
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The best photos from the entire 2016 election year
The best photos from the entire 2016 election year
MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters after his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
COMMERCE, CA - MAY 24: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign event on May 24, 2016 in Commerce, California. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in California ahaed of the State's presidential primary on June 7th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during their MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the New Hampshire primaries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Anita Brown, a volunteer for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, makes phone calls from a campaign field office to encourage voters in South Carolina to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary on February 24, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. The South Carolina Democratic primary is scheduled to take place on February 27. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - OCTOBER 22: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers remarks while campaigning at Regent University October 22, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The U.S. holds its presidential election in 17 days. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 14: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) jokes around as he speaks during a campaign rally at Bonanza High School on February 14, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sanders is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination ahead of Nevada's February 20th Democratic caucus. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (C) walks off stage as (L-R) Lara Yunaska, Vanessa Trump, Melania Trump, businessman Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Vanessa Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. look on after the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight is the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Supporters reach out to shake hands with US President Barack Obama after he spoke at a Hillary for America campaign event in Greensboro, North Carolina, October 11, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: An attendee stands amongst balloons at the end of the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: People react as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. There are 14 days until the the presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears on television screens in the media center during the third presidential debate the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight is the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: Khizr Khan, father of deceased Muslim U.S. Soldier Humayun S. M. Khan, holds up a booklet of the US Constitution as he delivers remarks on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals that Trump says hurt American workers during a campaign rally on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. (John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Cardboard cut outs of the faces of three candidates for the Republican nomination for the 2016 US Presidential election (L-R) Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, are seen set up on urinals in a pub in London on March 1, 2016 as part of an informal poll for customers to log which they dislike the most.
Part of the satirical television show The Last Leg, customers at the pub are able to choose which urinal to use and then log their poll on a list on the wall afterwards. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
COCONUT CREEK, FL - OCTOBER 25: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign rally at Broward College on October 25, 2016 in Coconut Creek, Florida. With two weeks to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Huma Abedin waits for an event with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at University of New Hampshire September 28, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - MARCH 30: Republican Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) laughs at a poster while speaking to guests at a town hall event called 'Women for Cruz' Coalition Rollout with wife Heidi, mother Eleanor Cruz, and former Republican candidate Carly Fiorina March 30, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17: Arizona Cardinals fans wear masks of Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the NFL game between the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 22: Singer Katy Perry (R) takes a selfie with dorm residents as she canvasses for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at UNLV on October 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today is the first day for early voting in Nevada ahead of the November 8 general election. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands with Women for Trump as he speaks to supporters at a rally on October 14, 2016 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump continues to campaign for his run for president of the United States. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 30: Supporters cheer for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during a campaign rally at Atlantic Aviation near Albuquerque International Airport October 30, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With less than nine days until Americans go to the polls, Trump is campaigning in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
An attendee wears a fake nose reading 'Hilary's Lies = Obvious' during a campaign event with Donald Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, not pictured, in Henderson, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Trump's weeklong slide in the presidential race started when he showed up to the first debate unprepared and spoiling for a fight. On Tuesday evening, Mike Pence helped slow it by doing the opposite. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WEST DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 31: A billboard of Donald Trump in the backyard of George Davey's home on January 31, 2016 in West Des Moines, Iowa. The billboard features the photo of Mr. Davey's chosen candidate in the upcoming Iowa caucuses: Donald Trump.
(Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIALEAH, FL - DECEMBER 28: People wait for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for a meet and greet event at Chico's Restaurant on December 28, 2015 in Hialeah, Florida. Bush continues to campaign for his parties' nomination as the presidential candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shows off a Reagan/Bush '84 tee-shirt as he speaks during a Miami field office opening on September 12, 2015 in Miami, Floria. Bush continues to campaign for the Republican nomination. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) meets with Reverend Al Sharpton at Sylvia's Restaurant on February 10, 2016 in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The meeting comes after a strong victory for Senator Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JULY 29: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts to the cries of three-month-old Kellen Campbell, of Denver, right, while holding six-month-old Evelyn Keane, of Castel Rock, Colo., after Trump's speech at the Gallogly Event Center on the campus of the University of Colorado on July 29, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kisses a 'Women for Trump' placard during a rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida on October 12, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 08: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) prepares to board a flight from Los Angeles back to Vermont on June 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. During a rally in Santa Monica last night Sanders vowed to continue his campaign into the convention. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 02: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a national security address on June 2, 2016 in San Diego, California. With less than one week to go before the California presidential primary, Hillary Clinton delivered a major national security address as she campaigns in Southern California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 17: Anastasia Lee waits for the start of a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the KI Convention Center on October 17, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Lee is scheduled to sing the national anthem at the rally. Trump will square off with democratic rival Hillary Clinton for a final debate before the election on October 19 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves as she leaves the home of her daughter Chelsea Clinton on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton left a September 11 Commemoration Ceremony early after feeling overheated and went to her daughter's house to rest. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 25: A bird lands on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders podium as he speaks on March 25, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. Sanders spoke to a crowd of more than eleven thousand about a wide range of issues, including getting big money out of politics, his plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, combating climate change and ensuring universal health care. (Photo by Natalie Behring/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looks down at the podium during the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight is the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton winks at Sam Oser during a visit to a Dunkin' Donuts on March 15, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Clinton is campaigning in North Carolina before traveling to Florida to hold a primary night event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DUBUQUE, IA - JANUARY 30: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the airport on January 30, 2016 in Dubuque, Iowa. Trump is in Iowa trying to gain support in front of the state's February 1 caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to and meets Ohio voters during a rally at John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday August 17, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
IN FLIGHT, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 26: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers birthday cake to reporters on her campaign plane while traveling from Tampa, Florida to New York on October 26, 2016. Hillary Clinton turned 69 years-old today. With less than two weeks to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs the American flag as he arrives for a campaign rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. There are 14 days until the the presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to continue its investigation on the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on the evening of September 11, 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 02: Amelia Good, 6, wears a crown made from pipe cleaners during a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Orlando Amphitheater at Central Florida Fairgrounds November 2, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. With less than a week before Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with attendees at a rally at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan October 10, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
An attendee stands for a photograph while wearing a shirt in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. After routing Hillary Clinton in three western-state Democratic caucuses, Sanders still faces daunting delegate math and a road ahead dominated by big-state primaries that have been the weakest link in his campaign. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Pastors and attendees lay hands and pray over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the Midwest Vision and Values Pastors and Leadership Conference at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio on September 21, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: Destn Montague listens to President Barack Obama speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 46th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner, September 17 2016, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 12: A demonstrator wearing a Donald Duck costume dances in front of the Trump International Hotel during the hotel's first day of business September 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Trump Organization was granted a 60-year lease to the historic Old Post Office by the federal government before Trump announced his intent to run for president. The hotel has 263 luxury rooms, including the 6,300-square-foot 'Trump Townhouse' at $100,000 a night, with a five-night minimum. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27: US President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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A significant proportion of the voters in Utah, a conservative, religious red state, fled the Trump camp and threw their support behind McMullin, a Mormon with little name recognition but a sterling conservative résumé.
McMullin soon climbed to a respectable standing in Utah, with one poll in mid-October showing him with the lead over both Trump and Clinton in the Beehive State. But after the FBI announced later in the month that it had reactivated its investigation into Clinton's private email server, the focus on Trump's shortcomings received less attention, and much of the enthusiasm for McMullin evaporated.
On the eve of Election Day, the independent presidential candidate was at 25% in the RealClearPolitics average, trailing Trump by roughly 10 points.
McMullin served in the CIA for a decade, and his colleagues from that time have attested to his work ethic, talent, and character — although some have also claimed that he exaggerated his status in the agency. After his time in the CIA, he worked as the chief policy director for Republicans in the House of Representatives.
He supports small government, respects capitalism, is anti-abortion, emphasizes the need for entitlement reform, and wants to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
And perhaps most importantly, he is perceived by voters as a man of integrity and good character.
In many ways, McMullin embodies the "real America" that Trump has been courting this whole election cycle. And to many disaffected Republican voters who cringe at Trump's playboy image and bullying rhetoric, McMullin represents a purer brand of conservatism.
"The Republican Party has really disappointed me," Barry Richardson, 36, said after McMullin's town hall in Brigham City.
He explained why he was supporting the long-shot candidate: "I've been a lifelong Republican, and I see it more as a statement of, 'Republicans, I'm not happy with you. I'm more happy with this guy who I can relate to than someone who I don't feel has been pushing the conservative movement for the time he says he has.'"
Trump, he said, doesn't represent the values that are important to him.
Trump "is a businessman like myself, [but] that's about the only thing I can relate to with him," said Richardson, who owns a landscaping maintenance business. "He doesn't have the same family values. He doesn't have the same business values. ... Those are the things that I look for in a candidate."
All day Saturday, McMullin's campaign traveled the length of the state, stopping in parks, diners, and the St. George convention center to meet voters and deliver his message.
He spoke of returning power back to the states, respecting the Constitution, and "standing for what is right."
"It's not just the country that's watching," McMullin said at a rally in St. George. "It's the world."
Trump has noticed the momentum McMullin has gained. In late October, Trump mocked McMullin for "going from coffee shop to coffee shop" courting voters. McMullin, at an event on Saturday, said Trump's jab was proof of how little he knows about the state — more than half of Utah's population is Mormon, and Mormons don't drink coffee.
Trump also said McMullin winning Utah could have a "devastating impact" on his electoral vote count. Because the race between Trump and Clinton is so close nationally, if McMullin robbed Trump of one reliably red state like Utah — which has six electoral votes — it could create a deadlock in which neither Trump nor Clinton reaches the requisite 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
If this scenario were to happen, the House would then choose the next president — and McMullin would be in play.
This is the message McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn, brought to the campaign trail during the Saturday road trip. At each stop, he and Finn emphasized this strategy in an effort to convince voters that their vote wouldn't be wasted on them.
It might not be that difficult to convince voters this election cycle. McMullin was tied with Trump and Clinton in polls last month in Utah, and both of the major-party candidates are both astoundingly unpopular with voters, many of whom have become disillusioned.
In conversations with voters who showed up to McMullin's events on Friday and Saturday, one word came up more than any other in reference to Trump and Clinton — "corrupt."
"I just cannot vote for Hillary or Trump," Lynn Adair, a 63-year-old working in advertising sales, said after a meet and greet in Nephi. "They're just con artists. Vindictive and everything else."
When asked what she looks for in a candidate, she said, "honesty," "fairness," and "courage."
Many of the voters who spoke with Business Insider were lifelong Republicans who say they can't stomach voting for Trump.
"I'm in my late 50s, and this is the first year that I was seriously thinking of not voting," Gayle Crofts, 58, said after a meet and greet in Richfield. "I was sick about my choices. ... I felt like our country, 360 million people, and this was the best on either party we could do? This is really the best America has to offer?"
Crofts said she's officially leaving the Republican Party after this election.
"I want the rights back to the people, to us," she said. "We are America. And this is my America, and your America. So I think that I want honor and integrity back in the White House."
"There's a moral-ness about him, and I feel like Washington is just mired in corruption and it doesn't seem like anymore like we the people have much say," Shirley Case, 72, said after an event at a restauran in Ephraim. "It just feels like there is finally a breath of fresh air, that the people are going to be able to speak. And even though it doesn't make a difference, people are standing."
Another common refrain from voters was the idea that people are voting for Trump out of fear.
"People who are voting for Trump are voting for him because they're desperate and they're hopeful that he can change something," Jenni Ferree, Case's 34-year-old daughter, said. "I just feel like if we're having to vote for someone out of desperation, we're not in a good place."
Case herself displayed some of that desperation.
"My heart weeps for my country," she said. "I'm 72 years old and I don't think I have ever seen my country in this situation."
Aboard the "campaign bus" (an RV with no identifying markings), McMullin and Finn meditated on this idea.
"I think a lot of the voters who have gravitated toward Donald Trump have been overlooked," Finn said. "There are people who have experienced wage stagnation, they've seen their jobs go overseas or their industries transform by technology or be taken away by automation."
She continued: "So Donald Trump is giving a voice to those people. Unfortunately, what he's brought along with it, is divisive rhetoric and divisive policies that have divided this country."
McMullin echoed Finn's thoughts.
"People are just desperate," he said. "Really, truly desperate. Whether it's because of Obamacare or lack of economic opportunity or a feeling that they're not being listened to by the government. We hear these stories all day long."
On the campaign trail, McMullin often uses the phrase "the lesser of two evils" in reference to Clinton and Trump. He cites the multiple investigations Clinton has been under during her run for the presidency, but he focuses more on Trump's scandals and controversies — the Access Hollywood tape, the proposed ban on Muslims entering the US, his seemingly hostile stance toward immigrants.
McMullin has cast himself as the candidate who is standing against Trump on principle, using soaring rhetoric about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
"Is it a long shot? Absolutely," McMullin said at the Nephi event in reference to his chance of winning the presidency. "But so was the founding of this country."
Kristlyn Peterson, an 18-year-old student at Snow College who is voting for the first time this year, has been looking for a hero.
"I was a little disappointed," she said about Trump and Clinton winning the major-party nominations. "I was like, where's my George Washington, Thomas Jefferson? Where are all these heroes that I can vote for?"
Guizella Rocabado, a 33-year-old professor at Southern Utah University, is also voting for the first time this year. She became a US citizen two years ago after moving here from her native Bolivia 15 years ago.
"I've been doing my research for a couple of years, and, you know, going through all the primaries and participating in the caucus, and then when the nominees ... were set in stone, I was just so sad," she said after a McMullin meet and greet in Cedar City. "Because for the first time, I thought, 'Well, it's my first time voting, but I think I'm going to have to vote blank,' and it's just sad to me."
Racabado balked when asked about Trump's rhetoric on immigration.
"It was kind of like a slap in the face for me," she said.
She clarified that while she doesn't support open borders, she thinks it should be easier for people like her to immigrate to the US.
"This is a country made from immigrants, but it's also a country of law," Rocabado said.
The heckler is part of the pragmatic third of the Utah electorate that is supporting Trump — those who want to keep Clinton from the White House even if it means casting a vote for a candidate they aren't very enthusiastic about.
Marc Stallings, the political director for the Trump campaign in Utah, came out to McMullin's St. George event with a group of Trump supporters who stood outside with "Trump/Pence" signs.
"I'm the first to admit, even when we got to the national convention, I was still a bit undecided," Stallings said. "... I was kinda thinking in the back of my mind that Mitt [Romney] would come save the day."
Stallings said he supports Trump simply because he's the Republican nominee for president.
It's true that if Trump loses Utah to McMullin, it could throw the entire election for him. And in that case, some discouraged Utahns believe, they'll end up even worse off with Clinton than they would have been with Trump. So while some voters might feel comfortable casting a protest vote for a long-shot candidate like McMullin, others feel that they don't have the luxury to take a gamble with the next four years of their lives.
And that doesn't mean that voters are happy with the choices that have been laid out in front of them.
"I have 24 grandkids. This is about my grandkids," the heckler, who did not provide his name, said after he left the McMullin rally. "The man has no chance of winning, pure and simple. This is a pragmatic decision."
He is a Trump supporter, but only reluctantly.
"Trump wasn't my first, second, third, or fourth choice," he said. "But he's our only choice now if we want to save our country."
As McMullin heads into Election Day, it seems as though the sentiment of these Trump supporters might be enough to keep Utah red. Utahns may find McMullin more agreeable, but voting for Trump is a pill conservatives in the state would rather swallow if it prevents Clinton from capturing the White House.
"Don't waste your vote," Stallings said. "Help make America great again."