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SALT LAKE CITY — A white supremacist is paying for robocalls to Utah voters that raise a question about independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin's sexuality.
As part of the call urging Utahns to vote for Donald Trump, William Johnson says, "Evan is over 40 years old and is not married and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. I believe Evan is a closet homosexual."
Johnson, a BYU graduate whom the Trump campaign named as delegate to the Republican National Convention last summer, told The Daily Beast, "I said that I think he is a closet homosexual. Calling someone a homosexual is no longer defamation. Also, he is a public figure. Word on the street is that he is gay."
The McMullin campaign told KSL in a statement that McMullin is not gay.
"He has been on the record multiple times saying one of his greatest aspirations is to be a husband and a father. He wishes it would have happened earlier, however he spent more than 10 years in his 20s and 30s serving his country overseas in the CIA. He sacrificed his social life in order to protect the United States, and he expects to start a family of his own one day," according to the statement.
Johnson is a California lawyer who has been active in U.S. white nationalist circles for more than three decades. He has unsuccessfully run for public office as a member of various political parties and as an independent.
Trump campaign officials blamed his inclusion as a national GOP delegate on a "database error." Johnson resigned as a delegate.
According to Johnson, the calls will go out to at least 193,000 residential landlines in Utah between Monday evening and Wednesday evening. He said it cost him around $2,000, The Daily Beast reported.
McMullin, a Mormon and Utah native, said he expects leaders in the state to stand for what's right and "reject evil."
"Will Utah Republican leaders continue to stand with Donald Trump and white nationalists as they attack my faith and spread baseless lies? Will the Utah and national Republican parties sit silently as Donald Trump redefines the Party of Lincoln into the Party of David Duke?" he said.
Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans did not respond to a request for comment.
On Twitter, McMullin called the robocalls “another desperate attack” by "Trump and his racist supporters” as his lead continues to diminish in Utah.
"This attack is consistent with @realDonaldTrump's bigoted, deceitful campaign and vision for America. Utahns won't be fooled,” he tweeted.
Johnson also says in the calls that McMullin has "two mommies. His mother is a lesbian, married to another woman. Evan is OK with that. Indeed, Evan supports the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage."
McMullin's parents divorced and his mother later married a woman.
"I've stood for liberty and equality in this race; it's natural for @realDonaldTrump's white supremacists to attack me. A fight worth having," McMullin tweeted.
Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, went after McMullin over the weekend.
Trump called him "a puppet" who could cost Republicans the election and give liberals the Supreme Court for the next 60 years if he wins in Utah.
"Now if for some reason we lose Utah, that could have a very devastating impact on the overall," Trump told Fox News. "If they go enough for this character that's running all over the state, and we lose the state of Utah, that's devastating."
Polls show Trump in a tight three-way race with McMullin and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in reliably Republican Utah.
Pence said nobody has ever heard of McMullin.
McMullin replied on Twitter, "Yes, you’ve never heard of me because while you were harassing women at beauty pageants, I was fighting terrorists abroad."
McMullin, a BYU graduate and former CIA operations officer, has called Trump a "racist," "misogynist" and an "authoritarian."
"Donald Trump has mainstreamed and normalized white nationalists, xenophobes, and bigots of all descriptions," McMullin campaign strategist Joel Searby said in a statement. "Today isn't an outlier or an exception; it's a vision of Donald Trump's America and the Republican Party of Reince Priebus, as well as every elected Republican who stands by Trump. This is not the kind of America we want."