With Mitt Romney the presumptive Republican nominee for President, there’s a lot of chatter about who his running mate will be. In the next few days, I’ll do a fairly exhaustive list of the potential running mates.
Awhile back, I suggested that Luis Fortuno, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Condoleeza Rice and Marco Rubio were the most likely potential running mates for the Republican Presidential nominee. Before looking at the long-list, let’s see what the top five been up to, especially in the context of getting on a national ticket.
The Governor of Puerto Rico is my most obscure pick for potential Veep. The Wall Street Journal had a piece about why he’s a good vice-presidential choice. Carl M. Cannon of RCP recently mentioned him as one of the four potential Hispanic running mates for Romney, along with Sandoval, Martinez and Rubio. Though it’s ridiculous enough as a possibility that latinorebels announced it as an April Fools joke.
If I were doing the top five today, I might opt for Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee instead. But I still think this guy’s a possibility, as he has held statewide office longer than a few other potential running mates, and Puerto Rican statehood is an issue that can bring excitement to a campaign that doesn’t have much of it. Intrade currently gives him a 0.6% chance, equal to Allen West and below Ron Paul.
While stumping with Perry on a three-day tour of Iowa, Jindal corrected the Texas Governor regarding his own tax plan. An ability to convey the candidate’s message is a good skill for a running mate, and in this case, Jindal did it better than the guy he was supporting. The fact he backed Perry also makes the Louisiana Governor (and former Congressman and former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation) useful as an ambassador to conservatives. Intrade gives him a 3% chance, so he’s in their top ten. He’s #4 on the Washington Post’s Inaugural edition of their 2012 veepstakes ranking.
The Daily Caller had a piece on Susana Martinez’s approval rating in her home state. It’s not essential, but it’s a good talking point.
What makes Martinez’s numbers so noteworthy is that she’s doing it as a Republican in a state that voted for Barack Obama by 15 points in 2008 and appears ready to do so again next year,” wrote Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, on Wednesday. “In addition to universal support from Republicans, an unusually high 32 percent of Democrats give her good marks and independents approve of her by a 48/38 margin as well.”
“[Florida Sen.] Marco Rubio (40 percent approval in Florida) and [Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (45 percent approval in Virginia) get most of the VP buzz, but Martinez has much more impressive numbers in her home state,” the report continued.
She is a member of the Republican fight club with her recent announcement that she has no interest in being Mitt Romney’s running mate. Intrade gives her an 8% chance, putting her in their top five. She’s also at #5 in the Washington Post list.
There was some speculation that Rice’s well-received book deal was part of an effort to keep her name in contention for national office. Christian Heinze was skeptical considering the Tea Party’s reasons to be suspicious of Rice, and her pro-choice stance. Keli Goff of the Daily Beast noted her effectiveness as a surrogate for President Bush, and how she would help the party’s image following race-related gaffes.
In 2004, Rice’s popularity was credited with helping to save the presidency of George W. Bush. A CNN poll at the time revealed that 54% of Americans did not believe the president had done all that he could to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Then his National Security Advisor—the first black woman to serve in the role—appeared before the 9/11 Commission. After her testimony, the number of Americans that believed the president had not done enough dropped to 40%. Now GOP insiders are hoping her popularity can help save the party.
Since President Obama’s election, the GOP has struggled with a seemingly endless string of race-related gaffes. Some highlights include a Republican mayor who thought depicting the Obama White House on a watermelon patch was hysterical and a top California GOP official who e-mailed a faux family photo featuring the president depicted as a chimpanzee with the tagline, “Now you know why — No birth certificate.” With each new controversy, and the ensuing cycle of media coverage, eventual apologies and forced resignations that followed, the GOP of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice became an increasingly distant memory. Emerging in its wake seemed to be a new and not-so improved Republican Party—the party of Rush Limbaugh and Marilyn Davenport (the chimpanzee joke genius.)
She was in first place, tied with Rubio and South Dakota Senator John Thune, in a poll of Republican insiders. African-American commentators consistently mention her as an ideal running mate, including Van Jones, former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder (a Democrat who was enough of a moderate to remain neutral in the 2009 gubernatorial election) and former Alabama Congressman / possible future Republican Artur Davis. It’s a ticket that might help conflicted voters come to the conclusion that the first black president doesn’t deserve a second term.
Intrade puts her chances at 1.4%. She’s not included in the Washington Post top ten. But if Romney decides that the best way to avoid the problems associated with Sarah Palin in 2008 is to pick someone voters are already familiar with, Rice becomes one of his top choices. She’s the most exciting of the “dull choices.”
The conventional wisdom that the Florida Senator has the right of first refusal is such that he leads a national survey. Though it was close, and he barely edged out Gingrich and Bachmann, who had the advantage of running for President at the time. It was recently revealed that his family was briefly members of the Mormon church. A common theme of the reporting was the effects this would have on his chances of sharing a presidential ticket with Romney.
Rubio has decided to rush an autobiography for a June release rather than October. He says it’s to preempt an unofficial biography coming out in July, but this guarantees him media attention in the months leading up to the selection. Jeb Bush suggested that Rubio would a good Vice-President. Rubio, who has frequently denied interest, said the same about his former mentor. Rubio tops the list at intrade at 28.3%, more than the next three combined. And he’s #1 on the Washington Post list.
The Bottom of the List
I also did a list of the people who I thought had no shot of being selected as Romney’s running mate. I have since changed my mind on two of them: Jeb Bush and Mitch Daniels. If polls continue to show that Bush’s brother’s presence on the ticket will help Romney win Hispanic voters, Jeb has a shot at following his dad to the office of Vice-President. There’s also some chatter about Mitch Daniels, who gave the Republican response to the State of the Union speech. My only reason for excluding him is the suspicion is that he doesn’t want the scrutiny a run for national office would bring to his family.
The long-list is coming soon.