Now that we can say the GOP nomination is wrapped up, as Ron Paul has admitted they won’t have enough delegates to keep Mitt Romney from the nomination and his son, Senator Rand Paul, has endorsed Romney. Lets talk VP picks. Who will be Romney’s running mate?
Some names I’ve seen mentioned, not in any particular order nor is a mention on this post to be construed as an endorsement…
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) – Ryan has been a rock star within the party, even the subject of short-lived popular pop culture meets politics Tumblr blog. As Congressmen go, he’s pretty well known due to his budget plan. Being from Wisconsin would provide some geographical balance and could help Romney carry what is likely battleground state this fall.
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) – The freshman senator out of New Hampshire’s name has been whispered in certain corners. Prior to her election to the U.S. Senate in 2010 she was the Granite State’s Attorney General. If it were up to Ellen Kolb, our New Hampshire contributor, then Romney can’t have her. While having a female on the ticket would provide some benefit it is unlikely to happen since the having two New Englanders would largely be seen as negative.
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) – There has been a lot of buzz about the former Bush Administration budget director and junior Senator from the Buckeye state. Certainly having somebody from a bellwether state as Ohio would be a benefit. He has a fairly conservative voting record that I can see, but who is he? Apparently he’s considered to be the best of the boring white guys.
Former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) – The first presidential candidate to jump ship and endorse Romney right after the Ames Straw Poll. He would balance the ticket geographically, but I have doubts he’d deliver Minnesota. Beyond that I’m not sure what positive qualities he’d bring to the ticket as he was accused of being Romney-lite during the Iowa Caucus race. Pawlenty as a pick while possible isn’t very probable.
Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM) – The first term governor from New Mexico would make an interesting pick being from a swing state and being the first Hispanic woman elected governor. As a first-term governor, seeing what happened to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, I can see both Martinez and Romney being gun shy out of a desire to avoid the political novice accusation. That said she’s a popular governor and carries a pretty conservative profile.
Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) – Having a southern governor on the ticket could be helpful, especially from Louisiana. Having the first Indian-American Governor who is a known policy wonk and former Congressman would be even better. That said I think Jindal is focused on Louisiana and is positioning himself for a run in 2016 or 2020. He’s still pretty young at age 40.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) – It would not be surprising to see Romney tap the first-term Senator from Kentucky in order to reach out to Ron Paul/Libertarian wing of the GOP. With his endorsement of Romney yesterday that will bounce his name around more. I’ve said before I thought it was odd that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney largely had a love-fest throughout the campaign. I’ve thought for awhile that there was a deal being made between the two campaigns. I know I sound conspiratorial, but isn’t that fitting when talking about Ron Paul’s son? My tin foil hat fits nice and snug.
Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) – Christie was an early supporter for Mitt Romney. He’s a tough talker. His record is minimal and outside of the tough talk (which I love) he’s largely an east coast moderate. I don’t see how that helps Romney.
Senator John Thune (R-SD) – Thune would be a safe pick. He would bring a more conservative name recognition to the ticket. He’s not from a swing state however. I don’t see much benefit from selecting him.
Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA) – He’s a very popular governor. He’s the governor of a swing state. He’s a solid conservative. He’s politically savvy. But he’s signed bills that are seen as controversial and I can see Romney shying from that.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – I’ve heard her name mentioned. She would provide balance and be a historic pick if chosen as the first African-American woman VP nominee. She’s bright and articulate and I’d love to see her debate Vice President Joe Biden. She certainly would bolster foreign policy cred for Romney. The downside is that she would also give the Obama administration the excuse to drag the Bush administration back into the campaign and continue to play the blame game.
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) – Former primary opponents always are discussed. Santorum could help Romney shore up the base with social conservatives and evangelicals; he doesn’t necessarily help geographically. Santorum would be a good addition, but his position on contraceptives may be too much for Romney. I definitely think Santorum would be a more likely pick than Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Herman Cain or Rick Perry though.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) – Rubio is a charismatic junior, first-term Senator who was formerly the Speaker of the Florida House. He would certainly be an asset to Romney in the Sunshine state. He’s articulate, but still new to the national stage. I could see him overshadowing Romney as well. Being a Hispanic would also provide a good balance and help with reaching out to that voter bloc.
Governor Mary Fallin (R-OK) – Oklahoma’s first female Governor’s name has been mentioned in some circles I’ve been a part of. Prior to being Governor she was represented Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. Being a female, conservative governor from a southern state she could be an asset to Romney. She is still a relative unknown on the national stage however.
I’d prefer he’d pick somebody who has potential to excite the base, though there will be many who won’t be swayed regardless of who he picks. A diverse ticket would be good as well. So having Rubio, Santorum, Rice, Martinez or Fallin on the ticket would shake things up. Which is probably not what he is looking for.
I think it is more likely that he’ll choose Portman, Christie, Pawlenty, McDonnell or Thune. I’d be more comfortable with McDonnell or Thune. Who knows though?
What say you… am I missing anybody? Who do you think Romney will pick? Who would you like to see on the ticket?
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