One recent poll shows that evangelicals are not as enthusiastic about Sen. John McCain as they were for President Bush in 2004. It's Marlys Popma's job to change that.
Popma is now based in Washington, D.C., as the campaign's national coordinator of evangelical outreach. While most evangelicals back McCain, only 28 percent of them say they "strongly support" him, compared with 57 percent who strongly supported Bush in August 2004, according to a survey released last week by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
Popma began working for the McCain campaign in late 2006 as the coalitions director in Iowa. She has also served as the executive director of the Republican Party of Iowa, deputy national political director for Gary Bauer for President in 2000, and president of Iowa's Right to Life Committee.
You announced in July 2007 that you were planning to resign. What happened? Why did you change your mind?
It was a time when the campaign was going through financial difficulties. I had become convinced at one point in the day that there might be no play in Iowa. Because I was from Iowa, I figured that if there was no play in Iowa, it might be best that I might not be engaged. It took less than eight hours from the time I tendered my resignation for me to find out that the campaign was planning to participate in Iowa, that they were serious about Iowa. It never had anything to do with Sen. McCain. It had only to do with financial implications and whether we were going to be engaging in Iowa. Within eight hours, I knew I had made one of the biggest political mistakes of my life.1