The 2012 Republican Vice Presidential Field: July 23, 2012
The Elephants are back, smaller than ever.
Former Massachusetts Governor Willard “Mitt” Romney, the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, is widely expected to announce his pick for Vice President in the next five weeks, well before the Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, August 27–30.
Just as we’ve covered the Stampeding Elephants in the past, let’s take a few moments to run down the potential running mates (elephant calves?) based on their Intrade percentages. Since there are 11 candidates that are judged by Intraders to stand a better than one percent chance of securing the VP nomination, I won’t give a biography on each one, but I will tell you something about the top five, with a few comments about those ranked six to 11.
A Politico article by Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei in May coined the acronym “Incredibly Boring White Guy” (IBWG) for the ideal Romney running mate. Of the 11 top candidates, only seven are white non-Hispanic guys (I’ll leave the “boring” judgment up to the reader). Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is neither white nor a guy, but she doesn’t seem to be interested in the job.
I’ve listed the potential Republican Vice Presidential candidates below, in order of their Intrade percentages, from highest to lowest. There are dozens of other “Vice Presidential Nomination” contracts on Intrade, but each of the ones not listed is below one percent. In each case, the Intrade percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number. (Rice is at 6.0 percent and Jindal is at 5.5 percent; both Ayotte and Petraeus are tied at 2.8 percent.)
|Ohio Sen. Rob Portman||1||29%|
|Former Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty||2||25%|
|Florida Sen. Marco Rubio||3||8%|
|South Dakota Sen. John Thune||4||7%|
|Former Sec. State Condoleezza Rice||5||6%|
|Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal||6||6%|
|Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan||7||4%|
|CIA Dir./ Former General David Petraeus||8 (tie)||3%|
|New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte||8 (tie)||3%|
|Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell||10||2%|
|New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie||11||1%|
1. Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Portman’s qualifications include former White House Legislative Director (1989–1991, under President George H.W. Bush), former Representative (1993–2005), former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (2006–2007, under President George W. Bush), and current Senator from a key swing state, and incredibly boring personality. That’s not my judgment, that’s Politico’s, and they rate him as the most likely to get the VP nod. Politico’s Scott Wong and Manu Raju call Portman “one of the most boring characters currently on the national stage. Portman is vanilla, wonky and unflappable.” As can be seen in the graph, his stock on Intrade has risen more or less monotonically (!) since the first of the year.
Be that as it may, he may be just the guy for Mitt Romney. His budgetary experience is catnip for the Tea Party wing. However, I have some doubts whether he can take on the traditional Pit Bull role that Vice Presidential nominees have taken on more recently. Conventional wisdom says to pick a VP candidate to balance the ticket; the contemporary reality is that hasn’t worked for several decades, if it ever worked at all.
2. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Intraders think so. They have him at a close second to Portman, with a large gap between Pawlenty and number three Marco Rubio (25 percent versus eight percent). On June 20, Politico reported that Pawlenty topped Romney’s shortlist for VP. That gave him an Intrade spike, as seen here, and he had a second spike about a week ago. He fits the IBWG profile, but can he deliver Minnesota? Minnesota has not sent electors to Washington for the Republican Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon beat George McGovern in a 1972 landslide.
3. Florida Senator Marco Rubio
He’s white, but Hispanic. He’s not boring: he’s a dynamic American of Cuban descent, the son of immigrants. Romney, who badly lags with Hispanic voters (by 48 points, 22–70, in a recent poll), might feel the need for a little spice on his ticket. Or not. Rubio was recently anointed by the Tea Party Express. Rubio certainly fails the IBWG test, having only one of the three necessary attributes, and just because he speaks Spanish fluently doesn’t mean he can deliver Hispanic votes from the primarily Mexican-American West. He might tip the delicate balance in Florida, however. His Intrade stock has been on a steadily declining path since an early spring peak.
4. South Dakota Senator John Thune
He made sure the press knew he met with Romney’s VP vetter, Beth Myers. Later, he apparently heeded Politico’s rule: if you say you’re under consideration, you’re not. His sole qualification seems to be that he knocked off Majority Leader Thom Daschle some years ago, or maybe it’s that he didn’t even make it to the Pawlenty Level in the Presidential nomination game. Actually competing for the nomination may notch his Excitement Quotient (EQ) up too high to be a VP contender.
5. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
When asked by CBS whether she would accept the VP nomination, Rice said:
There is no way I would do this.
I didn’t run for student council president. I don’t see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I’m not particularly fond of politics.
Still, a July 12 Drudge Report set off a firestorm of speculation. Cooler heads have since prevailed, suggesting that she might be unacceptable to the base since she’s mildly pro-choice and strongly pro-immigration reform, both of which are presumably unacceptable to The Base.
6–11. Jindal, Ryan, Petraeus, Ayotte, McDonnell, Christie
It’s unclear where the idea of current Obama Administration CIA Director and former General David Petraeus came from. I dug up this RedState article from May, and there was some speculation about Petraeus on Daily Kos, but beyond that, it’s unclear why he’s had his recent spike. Unlike the other Intrade graphs, this one just shows the last 14 days. You can see that Petraeus’s spike occurred on Friday, July 20, but why? I don’t know. Maybe one of our readers can comment.
- Pawlenty’s Odds of Getting the VP Nod Rise — on Intrade (blogs.wsj.com)
- Poll: Rice top VP choice of Republican voters (thehill.com)
- Romney has array of possibilities for running mate — Kansas City Star (kansascity.com)
- Meet The 11 People Who Could Be Mitt Romney’s Vice President (businessinsider.com)
- The veepstakes: Romney soon must choose a running mate (kansascity.com)
- Condoleezza Rice would make a ‘wonderful’ vice-president, says Palin (guardian.co.uk)
- In Pawlenty, Romney Campaign May Find Down-to-Earth Appeal (nytimes.com)
- Romney to Change the Subject by Naming His Veep (theatlanticwire.com)
- Romney Veepstakes Down to Final Three: Portman, Pawlenty, Jindal (theatlanticwire.com)