Mindy Finn is running for the second-highest office in the United States, a vice presidential candidate sharing the ticket with former CIA operative and House Republican staffer Evan McMullin.
Finn, a Texas native and independent conservative, joins McMullin as an alternative ticket to the two major party candidates — GOP nominee Donald Trump with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine — along with third party candidates Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, of the Libertarian Party, and Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Finn is a businesswoman and a former Capitol Hill staffer with connections to the President George W. Bush administration and Mitt Romney’s 2012 failed presidential bid. She claims to be running for vice president because she believes both Trump and Clinton are “unfit” for the White House.
Here’s what you need to know about Finn:
1. Finn Said She’s Running for Vice-President Because ‘Half the Country’ Doesn’t Like the Choices
In a question-and-answer interview with Glamour, Finn said she decided to run for vice president because “It’s been demonstrated in this election cycle with two choices that more than half the country is deeply dissatisfied with, and really seeking and hungry for a ticket they can vote for and be proud of.”
Telling Bethany Mandel in a Forward interview, Finn said she was in “disbelief” that Trummp could “actually be the nominee.”
I was watching Evan’s campaign and was supportive in an innocuous way. I knew they wanted me to be more involved but I didn’t at all expect this. I never expected to be a vice presidential candidate, this year or ever. After Evan asked me to consider it, and I got over my initial shock, I understood the unconventional nature of this campaign, and it made total sense. We are going to take this energy and build a new conservative movement. We want to ensure that voters have an option they can be proud of and to be a voice for those voters.
Finn also said in her candidate bio she “found herself increasingly disappointed with the two major parties’ candidates,” believing the country is “at a crossroads, where the people are more distrustful and dissatisfied with politics than ever before.”
There have been female vice presidential candidates in the past. Most recently, when the Green Party’s Stein ran for president in 2012, joining her atop the ticket was Cheri Honkala. Sarah Palin joined Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Geraldine Ferraro joined Walter Mondale in 1984.
2. Claiming She Has Always Been a Republican, Finn Said the GOP Has ‘Strayed Far’ From Conservative Principles
Finn grew up in Kingwood, Texas, outside of Houston, which she claims in a essay on Medium shaped her ideas and how she thinks about politics. Raised by a single mother, Finn said she learned valuable lessons like never spending more than she had, to keep $20 in her pocket in case of an emergency and to work hard and support herself.
“…being a Republican meant standing for the values my mother instilled in me: hard work, personal responsibility, and the importance of family,” Finn writes, adding later: “Unfortunately, the Republican Party has strayed far from those principles by nominating a man who rejects this inclusive and optimistic vision in favor of bigotry and prejudice.”
Finn said she envisions an America much like its founders: “a constitutional republic, where we respect the rights of all men and women, regardless of their race, religion, or national origin.”
In an interview on CNN, nearly a year before she began running for vice president, Finn called Trump “dangerous” and likened him to an abusive boyfriend who will “punch you in the eye.”
“I actually kind of look at The Donald a bit like an abusive boyfriend,” she said. “There’s an allure, he’s filling kind of a need and a void and people are attracted to him but ultimately he’s a bully. And he’s going to punch you in the eye.”
3. Finn Won’t Be on the Ballot in Most States Because of Her Late Start
When McMullin announced in early October Finn would be joining his ticket, some ballots were already finalized with a placeholder name — “Nathan Johnson” — and McMullin-Johnson will appear in eight states, according to Politico.
The chances of McMullin-Finn winning are slim enough that Johnson’s name on the ballot shouldn’t matter much, according to University of California Irvine School of Law professor Richard Hasen.
“In the extremely unlikely event that McMullin wins in a state, the electors from that state could vote for McMullin’s current choice for VP in the electoral college vote,” he told Politico. “So I don’t think this would make a practical difference even if McMullin were actually a viable candidate.”
4. Finn Is A Founder of A Feminist Organization, Empowered Women, Connecting Enterprising Women
Finn founded Empowered Women, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., which defines itself as “a positive, proactive platform that celebrates women as individuals who deserve an equal opportunity to live a fulfilled life as they define it.”
“We know you can’t put women in a box,” the organization states. “We seek to diversify and round out the perspectives and voices of American women, and by doing so, give them a broader and stronger influence on politics, culture and community.
“We have fresh ideas, powerful mentors and a bold vision for disrupting the current political landscape from one that divides women’s rights along ideological lines to one that empowers all women.”
5. Finn Is Jewish, Married, Has Two Sons & Is Pro-Life
Asked about her stances on women’s issues, Finn told Glamour she and McMullin were still working on a platform about issues like equal pay and family leave. Finn did, however, say she and McMullin are both pro-life.
McMullin’s name has recently gained traction in Utah, where the Mormon candidate is expected to do well. He’s currently polling at 22 percent, while Clinton and Trump are stagnant at 26 percent. Libertarian Party’s Johnson is at 15 percent. And while McMullin’s religion and ties to Mormon Brigham Young University stands out to Utahns, Finn is Jewish.
Asked about her religion and its role in the campaign, Finn told Forward, “I think the most important role that our religions each play (McMullin is Mormon) is that we deeply value religious freedom. Neither candidate on the stage at the debate Sunday night stood for religious freedom for all people (Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.). When you don’t protect the religious freedoms of one group, you don’t stand for it at all.
“We feel proud that our ticket represents religious diversity and values religious faith — professionally, politically and personally.”
Finn, 35, is married to David. The couple has two sons, Max and Nathan.