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Evan McMullin talks to the press after announcing his presidential campaign as an Independent candidate in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 10, 2016. George Frey/Getty Images
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Conservative Anti-Trump Candidate Evan McMullin Taps Jewish Republican Strategist as Running Mate

Mindy Finn, who previously worked for Romney, Bush, Twitter, and Google, will fight to deny Trump the presidency

by
Yair Rosenberg
October 07, 2016
George Frey/Getty Images
Evan McMullin talks to the press after announcing his presidential campaign as an Independent candidate in Salt Lake City, Utah, August 10, 2016. George Frey/Getty Images

On Thursday, conservative third party presidential candidate Evan McMullin announced his running mate: 35-year-old political and digital strategist Mindy Finn. McMullin, a former CIA officer and chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, announced his anti-Trump candidacy in August. For her part, Finn has publicly opposed Trump since he first began gaining traction in the primaries—and she has invoked her Jewishness when doing so.

“I’m a lifelong Republican,” she wrote in January. “But more importantly, I’m an American, a Mom, and though I don’t wear it on my sleeve, a committed Jew. When I see an authoritarian decide who are winners and losers as if he were picking race horses to bet on, habitually equate people to animals and mock their looks and mannerisms, I see the antithesis of leadership. When I see a man equate strength with an ability to erect tall buildings in their name while threatening to banish entire religions from our country, I don’t merely shake my head in disgust. I’m afraid.”

Finn is a veteran GOP operative, having worked for George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and the Republican National Committee. She has also done stints with Google and Twitter, and founded a non-profit to help network conservative women.

Her ticket faces a steep uphill battle for media attention, public recognition, and ultimately votes. Officially, the McMullin campaign’s strategy is to prevent both Clinton and Trump from reaching 270 electoral college votes, thereby throwing the election to the House of Representatives, which could then select McMullin. Accordingly, McMullin has been sharply critical of both of the major party candidates. But when pressed, he has not shied away from his more likely role as a spoiler for Donald Trump—that is, a ticket that would siphon off enough conservative votes in states like Utah to tip them to Clinton.

“If it turns out that I’m a spoiler for Donald Trump,” he told an interviewer last week, “I would say that I’m a spoiler for the advancement of the white supremacist movement in this country; I would say then that I’m a spoiler for authoritarianism in this country; I’m a spoiler for an attitude of misogyny being promoted in our great nation; I’m a spoiler for violations of our inspired Constitution; I’m a spoiler for those who would violate our civil rights.”

McMullin’s campaign launched with the tagline, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” But because of its belated start, not only will McMullin not appear on some state ballots, but he was forced to list a placeholder running mate, his friend Nathan Johnson, until he selected one. As such, the campaign now intends to go to court to have Finn replace the Johnson on the ticket. Regardless, she will be campaigning as McMullin’s VP going forward.

“I wouldn’t support Trump if you paid me his net worth,” Finn declared in January. “I refuse to carry his flag. I challenge you to do the same.” Starting this week, she will be taking that message on the campaign trail.

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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