ABC News(NEW YORK) — Evan McMullin, the long-shot independent presidential candidate, has chosen his running mate — veteran political and digital strategist Mindy Finn.
Finn, 35, has worked for former President George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Twitter and Google. This cycle, she was a senior digital strategist for the RNC and oversaw digital programs for the NRSC’s targeted races in 2014.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Finn explained why she wanted to join the unlikely never-Trump ticket.
“I’ve been part of the group opposing Donald Trump in the Republican Party really since he announced last summer and as he continued to alienate and vilify people in this country” and while she has “encouraged others to run for office, this is now an opportunity to walk the walk.”
In 2012, she worked for Twitter, leading their politics and advocacy sector. A Republican activist who has worked to encouraged female Republicans to run for office, she also founded the non-profit Empowered Women, a network to connect center-right and independent women.
She described seeing Republicans coming around to Trump as “pretty discouraging,” but now she is “thrilled to be on the ticket” and she is “all in for the right reasons.”
“This is how it should feel to participate in a democracy,” she said. “I’ve also been incredibly impressed by the amount of traction they have in such a short amount of time and I am thrilled to be part of continuing to build a new movement.”
The McMullin campaign acknowledges what an uphill climb they have up against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Most polling does not include McMullin, who announced his bid in August. Their strategy is dependent on attempting to block Trump and Clinton from obtaining 270 electoral votes and sending the election to the House of Representatives. An election hasn’t been decided by the House of Representatives since 1824.
“The path is difficult, but not as unlikely as people think,” McMullin strategist Rick Wilson told ABC News. “This is all about giving Americans a sense they can vote for people they can be proud of and have a more affirmative version of leadership in this country.”
Still, Finn has an even smaller chance than McMullin for taking office. McMullin’s strategy is to win enough electoral votes to throw the election into the U.S. House of Representatives, where Congress will consider the top three candidates. But the vice presidential election would get thrown into the U.S. Senate, where only the top two vice presidential candidates can vie for the spot – almost certainly Pence and Kaine only.
Wilson said if McMullin were to win in this way, Wilson said McMullin would ask for Kaine or Pence’s resignation after inauguration.“It would be the least unusual thing to happen this election cycle,” Wilson quipped.
Finn said she is ready for the heat she is going to take for taking on Trump in the party and is ready for what could be a nasty assault online especially.
“I don’t think the threat of hearing nasty things should keep people out of the public eye, you have to be tough,” she said. “I kind of have to put on my teflon armor and take it.”
It’s also possible that the placeholder name the campaign used to gain ballot access, a man named Nathan Johnson, would also be stuck on the ballot instead of Finn. Wilson said they have a legal plan to fight that and called Finn a person who can help “reshape the conservative movement in this country.”
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