Speculation is mounting that Donald Trump will announce his running mate before the Republican convention scheduled for later this month in Cleveland. While trying to predict what Mr. Trump will do is risky business, some names are appearing with increasing frequency on various lists.
The GOP insiders — Newt Gingrich and Gov. Chris Christie
Two names that continue to make the rounds are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Gingrich has worked hard to rehabilitate his image after being forced to resign the speakership in 1997 over an ethics violation. Gingrich has the governing experience in Washington politics that Trump lacks and is widely respected for his intellect.
Mr. Gingrich also seems eager for the job, and has the intellectual bona fides and dynamic personality to handle someone like Mr. Trump as his running mate.
— The New York Times
Gov. Chris Christie has been auditioning for the vice presidential nod since he dropped out of the GOP presidential primaries and became one of Trump’s earliest endorsers. On the downside, there is the lingering fallout from the George Washington bridge lane scandal and Christie’s unpopularity in his home state. Picking a running mate from next-door New Jersey could make the ticket look isolated from the rest of the country.
A rising GOP star from Iowa
Iowa freshman Senator Joni Ernst met with Donald Trump over the 4th of July weekend further fueling speculation that Trump might choose the Harley-riding mom to join the ticket. Ernst, who served in Iraq and is a Lt. Colonel in the National Guard could bring some foreign policy creditability to Trump’s campaign. Moreover, as a woman Joni would attract not only the support of Republican women, but as a 46-year-old successful woman she could appeal to a younger demographic.
Iowa is considered a critical battleground state in the 2016 campaign and with Ernst, who is popular in her home state on the ticket Trump could count on winning The Hawkeye State in November.
With banners that read, “Mother, soldier, leader,” she’s captivated Iowa Republicans with a compelling biography and an anti-Washington message about “the Iowa way.” She’s already being billed as the party’s rival to Hillary Clinton.
— Alex Seitz-Wald, MSNBC
Gov. Mike Pence would broaden Trump appeal to the right
Mike Pence is the conservative governor of Indiana. Pence, who endorsed Cruz in the primaries, would a safe choice for Trump who would help to broaden his appeal to the Party’s conservative base. Indiana is a swing state and Pence could assist in ensuring that it goes to Trump. On the other hand, Pence is not seen as an exciting choice and could easily get lost in Trump’s wake.
Another complication for Pence, who is running for re-election as Governor is that Indiana does not permit candidates to run for two offices at once. Pence would have to withdraw from the gubernatorial race by July 15th to allow the Party to pick another candidate.
There is no guarantee that Trump will pick any of these four names. Putting someone’s name on the short list for VP is an easy way to give a compliment to a politician without making any real commitment. Except for Sen. Joni Ernst, the three men are safe choices and Trump needs to make a choice that will generate excitement not safety.
Picking a freshman Senator like Joni Ernst would be a risky choice, but has the potential to pay off big on the campaign trail and would help Trump in those areas where he needs help.