Relationship status for McMullin and running mates: It’s complicated

Posted at 6:18 AM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 08:18:00-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Question: Can Evan McMullin win the presidential race all?

Answer: Yes. 

Question: If he does, will his running mate, Mindy Finn, be the Vice President?

Answer: Probably not.

Finn is not on the ballot for Vice President. McMullin’s friend Nathan Johnson agreed to be a "placeholder" for that spot as McMullin rushed to get on ballots. If McMullin were to win the presidency in a popular vote on Nov. 8, Nathan Johnson would be Vice President-elect and would have to step aside for Mindy Finn.

So Johnson is the official running mate while Finn is the practical running mate.

That said, it is practically impossible for McMullin to win outright on Nov. 8. McMullin's name is on the ballot in 11 states and he is an accepted write-in candidate in most others. He'd have to win with write-in votes in America's biggest states.

A second possibility could happen.

If Donald Trump manages to tie Hillary Clinton, and McMullin wins Utah and Idaho, nobody would have the 270 electoral votes required.

That would kick the decision to the U.S. House of Representatives, and they could choose between all three candidates getting electoral votes.

If they chose McMullin, he would be president-elect.

But even then, Nathan Johnson and Mindy Finn would be out in the cold. The U.S. Senate would choose the Vice President from the top two vote-getters, almost certainly meaning Mike Pence and Tim Kaine.