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April 10th, 2012

VP Nominee List: The Top 15

The media and a lot of Republicans are ready to hand the GOP nomination to Mitt Romney. We’re not prepared to do that here on TIR quite yet. However, with many viewing the race is all but over, speculation about the vice-presidential pick is ramping up. So, why not join in the fun.

Here is a list of 15 potential VP picks, in no particular order, along with their pros and cons. Some on this list have said they are not interested in becoming VP. Don’t believe them. No one turns down this job.


Strengths: Assuming Romney eventually wins, Santorum should at least receive some consideration. As the runner-up in the GOP nomination, Santorum helps Romney pick up conservative voters that would not support him in the primary. Evangelicals do not like Romney. Adding Santorum to the ticket allays many of those fears.

Weaknesses: He’s as conservative as it gets on social issues. That’s great, but some of his remarks will turn off independents. Democrats will paint him as an extremist.


Strengths: He’s a Tea Party favorite, U.S. Army veteran, and helps Republicans overcome the “old white guy” label. West is also from Florida, a state that is crucial for a Republican victory.  

Weaknesses: He’s only a first-term congressman. Also, late in West’s military career, he endured an investigation about his handling of an interrogation in Iraq. Democrats are guaranteed to use that against West and with much of the country war weary, their smears would be effective.


Strengths: Great governor, still very popular in Florida.

Weaknesses: One word, four letters: B-U-S-H.


Strengths: There are many. He’s wildly popular with evangelicals and Romney needs help to win them over. Huckabee also comes across as extremely likeable. As a former governor, he would be deemed “ready” to become president.

Weaknesses: His strong pro-life stances would allow the Dems to continue their ridiculous “war on women” rhetoric. Huckabee’s 1000+ pardons while Arkansas governor could be used against him, especially Maurice Clemmons.


Strengths: He has made verbally smacking down Democrats into an art form. Christie would absolutely destroy Joe Biden in a debate. He’s capable of firing up Republicans.

Weaknesses: Christie is not a social conservative, so he might not help Romney win over evangelicals.


Strengths: The same reason his campaign came back from the dead twice, he’s an expert debater. Gingrich can fire up the GOP base as well as anyone.

Weaknesses: He’s way too erratic.


Strengths: He would ensure the Ron Paul supporters would vote Republican this fall, at least at the top of the ticket. Paul is a much better orator than his father and seems much more sane.

Weaknesses: Since his father has not won a single state, the strength of the Paul support is vastly overrated. He’s also just a first-term senator. Experience matters.


Strengths: He’s considered one of the frontrunners for the VP slot. Republicans need help with the Hispanic vote and Rubio, as a Cuban-American, might be able to help them deliver that. As a U.S. Senator from Florida, Rubio also boosts Republican chances in a crucial state.

Weaknesses: He might not be deemed “conservative enough” by evangelicals and immigration hardliners.


Strengths: He’s a popular, young governor, policy whiz and a rising star in the GOP. He’s an Indian-American, which again helps fight the “old, white guy” perception.

Weaknesses: He is still best remembered for his horrible State of the Union response in 2009. Keep him away from teleprompters and he’ll do fine.


Strengths: A Tea Party darling in 2010, a woman and governor of a conservative state.

Weaknesses: Her approval rating plummeted within her first year of taking office. Haley would remind everyone of Sarah Palin, and not in a good way.


Strengths: He’s considered one of the frontrunners, although Portman’s name is unfamiliar to people who aren’t political junkies. As a senator from Ohio, he helps Republicans in one of the most crucial swing states.

Weaknesses: He’s charisma-deprived, stresses fiscal, not social, conservatism, and is a Washington insider.


Strengths: A social conservative governor from Virginia, a state Republicans need to win.

Weaknesses: There’s an old college thesis penned by McDonnell slamming gays and unwed mothers. The Washington Post tried to make it a key issue in his 2009 gubernatorial campaign. They failed, but there is no doubt the Dems and their allies will try again if he’s the VP pick.


Strengths: A terrific governor in Indiana, Daniels was the presidential favorite among a lot of GOP insiders. Daniels’ fiscal leadership of Indiana set a standard for Republcan governors.

Weaknesses: Evangelicals won’t soon forget Daniels’ call for a “truce” on social issues. However, he signed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Indiana. That will help allay some social conservatives’ fears, but could hurt him with moderates.


Strengths: His attempts to reign in the federal budget have made Paul Ryan wildly popular with conservatives and Tea Party-types. He’s young and photogenic.

Weaknesses: The Democrats entire 2012 campaign is built around scaring people into believing that Ryan’s budget will end Medicare. Adding him to the presidential ticket will only amplify that, and people who don’t know any better will actually believe the Democrat attacks. 


Strengths: He was a good governor in Minnesota and is conservative enough on fiscal and social issues.

Weaknesses: The same reason his presidential bid failed. He’s BORING.

About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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