Now that it seems Romney is all set to become the Republican nominee for president, we are beginning to hear more speculation about Romney’s choice of a running mate. Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley at Sabato’s Crystal Ball have come up with a list of possible GOP Vice-Presidential candidates ranked by first tier to fourth tier.
First Tier: Rob Portman (Senator, OH), Marco Rubio (Senator, FL), Bobby Jindal (Governor, LA), or Paul Ryan (Rep., WI)
I think Rubio and Portman are real possibilities if for no other reason than Romney desperately needs to carry either Ohio or Florida and perhaps both if he is to have any chance to win. Rubio adds the plus of being Hispanic as well as being from an important swing state. However, Rubio might very likely take a pass on running on the Romney ticket and prefer to wait for 2016. If Romney loses, which is a real possibility, Rubio would be a prime candidate for the GOP presidential slot next time. That leaves Portman. Ohio is an important swing state like Florida and Portman has budget experience (Former OMB director) which would fit with Romney’s “we can fix the economy message.” I don’t see Jindal or Ryan as being likely picks. Jindal doesn’ offer any help with must-win states. Ryan would inject too much controversy when it comes to popular programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Second Tier: Chris Christie (Governor, NJ), Jeb Bush (Fmr. Governor, FL), Tim Pawlenty (Fmr. Governor, MN), Bob McDonnell (Governor, VA), Mitch Daniels (Governor, IN), or Mike Huckabee (Fmr. Governor, AR)
I don’t see Christie taking the offer for the same reason Rubio might turn it down. If Romney loses, Christie has a good chance in 2016. If Jeb Bush wasn’t a Bush, he might be a good pick but I don’t think Romney or any of the powers in the GOP want to remind the voters of George W. Bush. Pawlenty is a possibility but only as a lack luster place holder, same for Daniels. McDonnell would bring trouble with women voters and Romney doesn’t need any more trouble with them, he has enough already. Huckabee would remind voters of the right wing Republican extremism on social issues. Romney is going to be doing everything he can to distance himself for right-wing social talk, even his own.
Third Tier: Kelly Ayotte (Senator, NH), Brian Sandoval (Governor, NV), Susana Martinez (Governor, NM), Bob Corker (Senator, TN) or Condoleezza Rice (Fmr. Secretary of State)
I don’t think either Ayotte, Sandoval or Corker would bring much to the ticket, although Sandoval is Hispanic. Rice has said she isn’t interested and has the Bush connection. Martinez might help with the Hispanic vote but like Rice has said she is not interested.
Fourth Tier: Pat Toomey (Senator, PA), John Thune (Senator, SD), Rand Paul (Senator, KY), Luis Fortuno (Governor, PR), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Rep., WA), Richard Burr (Senator, NC), David Petraeus (Director of CIA), or J.C. Watts (Fmr. Rep., OK)
I think these are all real long shots. Most wouldn’t bring anything to the ticket. Romney isn’t going to want to talk about Iraq and Afghanistan when the electorate is fed up with wars. So, Petraeus is out plus I doubt if he is interested.
Bottom line: Right now I would bet the offer would go to Rubio. If he turns it down, which is likely, Portman will be the pick. And then of course, Romney could pull a Palin, which would be just great by me. Nah, he wouldn’t be that stupid would he? Let's hope so.
To see the key advantages and disadvantages these possible candidates would bring to the Romney team according to Sabato, et. al., go here: