Evan McMullin, an independent conservative candidate for president, has saddled himself with a running mate in several states, including Arkansas, by listing a name as a “placeholder” in filing for office.
McMullin has qualified in nine states, including Arkansas, and in each listed “Nathan Johnson” as a running mate. It’s not clear if that’s a real person. McMullin has said Johnson is just a placeholder until he picks a running mate.
But in eight of the nine states [including Arkansas], top election officials say McMullin’s campaign can’t pull Johnson’s name off the ballot, and that it’s “Nathan Johnson” — not whomever McMullin eventually names as his pick for Vice President — that will appear on the ballot.
If McMullin is indeed stuck with Johnson on the ballot, it marks an embarrassing setback for a candidate already struggling with a lack of national name recognition, a small budget and a late start to his race. And it provides more fodder to McMullin critics, who say his bid for president is less a serious run for higher office than an attempt at self-promotion.
A fitting sidelight to the larger race underway.