One of the biggest qualifications to serve on the bottom-half of a presidential ticket is to not overshadow the top portion, as what happened in 1996 and 2008. Short of Trump picking Caitlyn Jenner as his running mate, I don’t see how that is even theoretically possible.
Selecting a running mate can help Trump bridge gaps within a party that has yet to congeal around his candidacy, shore up support in a particular state hanging in the balance, and reinforce his general election theme.
While dragging out speculation can bring media attention to most candidates, Trump doesn’t need a second fiddle to accomplish that task: the reality show star can dominate the media cycle just with a tweet.
And word on the street is that Trump leaning towards making an announcement about his running mate well in advance of the Republican National Convention in mid-July.
We know who it’s not going to be: New Mexico governor Susana Martinez.
The Republican Latina state executive was on Mitt Romney’s short list in 2012 and was expected to enjoy similar consideration by almost all of the over two dozen 2016 GOP presidential aspirants, with one notable exception.
Newt Gingrich: The most talked about potential running mate for Trump would satisfy the billionaire’s stated interest in a vice-president with experience in Washington and in the legislative process. Furthermore, Gingrich would assuage concerns many conservatives harbor about Trump. The former speaker has been a vociferous unofficial surrogate for Trump in the media and to some degree, the real estate developer owes Gingrich as he flim-flammed him on an expected endorsement that Trump gave to Romney prior to the Nevada caucuses. It’s safe to say that Trump regrets that shift. Unfortunately for Gingrich, he polled poorly with female voters in 2012 and his joining the ticket would further crater Trump’s numbers with women. And then there’s the unpleasant matter that between Trump and Gingrich they’ve said “I do” to six different women. Newt is enjoying once again basking in the klieg lights of the media but the Newt talk is likely a fake out.
Bob Corker: Tennessee US Senator Bob Corker’s name has surfaced as a possible vice-presidential nominee. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, Corker would bring some foreign policy credentials to the ticket. Corker might also help woo back some of the more moderate #NeverTrump folks. The former mayor of Chattanooga would be an uncharacteristically bland gambit for a man inclined to make “yuge moves.” Corker is also being investigated for having not disclosed some financial transactions. Like Newt, the Corker talk is probably more smoke than fire.
Brian Sandoval: If Trump were to choose a Hispanic running mate, the odds are that it would be the governor of Nevada and not former rivals Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Sandoval has won three statewide elections in Nevada, once for Attorney General and twice for governor. As Nevada is a swing state, a Trump/Sandoval ticket would increase the GOP’s chances of once again returning it to the GOP column after losing Nevada in the previous two elections.
Jon Huntsman: Normally, Utah would be a given for any Republican presidential candidate. Not so with Trump. The billionaire ran a distant third in the Beehive State and the fatwas handed down by Romney in the primary and for the general election could spell trouble for Trump. Enter former governor Jon Huntsman. In addition to having a strong political, familial, and charitable connection to Utah, Huntsman was a favorite of moderate/establishment types during his brief presidential run from four years ago. There’s also the added inducement for Trump that Romney and Huntsman, though both Mormons, cannot stand each other. Huntsman also has deep pockets and as a former ambassador to China, one of Trump’s favorite targets for criticism on the campaign trail, would add some foreign policy muscle. Very much a rogue Republican like Trump, Huntsman would probably have the best personal chemistry with the presumptive nominee. Oh, and the move would make Romney see spots. I don’t see how Trump passes up this trifecta.
John Boehner: If not Gingrich, then why another former Republican speaker? Boehner heaped praise on his golf and text buddy while the rest of the GOP Establishment was suffering from the vapors. A Trump/Boehner ticket would ice Ohio, though picking the bane of the conservative grassroots activists would drive a large segment of the right to either a Third Party or calling in sick/disgusted on Election Day. #OrangeCrush2016!