The veepstakes are on as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has until Friday, July 15 to choose a vice presidential running mate. Usually, running mates balance a ticket in terms of geography, diversity, government experience, fundraising appeal, safety in terms of not overshadowing the ticket.
Most observers believe that the last time a vice presidential candidate made a real difference in a presidential election was 1960, when then-Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy picked Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson-a choice to appeal to Southerners who were resistant of Kennedy’s Catholic religion.
Let’s take a look at who Trump is seriously considering for vice president:
Mike Pence, Indiana governor
Pence, 57, has been a darling of establishment and conservative Republicans for years. Pence, a Midwestern evangelical, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and served there until 2012, when he went back home to Indiana to run for governor. Pence is a safe choice. Pence defeated former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg (D) in 2012, but ran points behind then GOP-nominee Mitt Romney in the state.Pence is a staunch conservative, who voted against some of George W. Bush’s big government conservative items and he was even a favorite of some conservatives to run for president in 2012 and 2016. Pence faced a tough two years in 2015 and early 2016 after signing a religious freedom restoration bill that many liberal critics and LGBT advocates say discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Pence is also running for reelection for governor, and could be dragged down by Trump or face low approval ratings.
Chris Christie, New Jersey governor
Christie, 53, is what Trump likes the most: A true Trump loyalist, an attack dog who is ready to lace into the Democratic Party’s 8-year leadership. Christie dropped out of the presidential election in February after a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary. Christie would reinforce Trump’s appeal-brash, bold, Northeastern. Christie would appeal to New Hampshire voters, potentially, and he could also assist Trump in executive experience. Christie understands foreign policy and national security more than Trump. However, Christie has a lot of downsides: the ongoing Bridgegate trial, in which his political aides and him are accused of closing a lane on the George Washington Bridge due to a local mayor refusing to endorse his reelection, when he had bipartisan crossover appeal after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Also, Christie is very unpopular in New Jersey. The economy in the state is in dire straits, with even Republicans disliking him and he is too brash for the country.
Newt Gingrich, former House speaker (Georgia and Washington D.C. resident)
Gingrich would bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Trump ticket. Gingrich, 73, would help Trump understand rough and tumble Beltway politics like no other and he also reinforces the ticket. He reinforces Trump’s brash, no nonsense commentary and he brings intellectual firepower in ways that Trump cannot navigate. Gingrich is high profile–he has a noxious relationship with former President Bill Clinton. As some may remember, Gingrich and the Republican-led Congress in 1995 and 1996 shutdown the federal government after Clinton and the GOP failed to agree on governmental operations and the federal budget. Gingrich knows how to play rough politics. Gingrich does not bring any states with him to Trump’s ticket, but he could bring Southern appeal. However, in the GOP primaries, Trump did well in Southern states. Gingrich ran for president in 2012, but dropped out of the Republican presidential race after Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination in May 2012.