Menzies House U.S. Politics Editor Amir Iljazi continues his Veepstakes Tournament for the 2012 GOP Presidential Ticket
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote how the GOP nomination process was essentially all but over and that we had moved into a new phase of the contest. Shortly thereafter, Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney saw the road become much clearer as his chief rival, Rick Santorum, decided to end his campaign.
We moved into what many US Political observers have dubbed the "Veepstakes" which is very much a parlor game where pundits and insiders discuss who the Vice Presidential nominee will ultimately be for respective party nominees in a Presidential election. I began with 32 potential running-mates for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and in with the first round post come and gone, we are now left with 16 potential candidates to ride shotgun with Romney in his quest to unseat President Obama.
Once again, a brief explanation: I divided the 32 potential Vice-Presidential picks into two brackets and put them in matchups against each other and there is only one left. Without any further delay, the second round of the 2012 GOP Veepstakes Brackets.
ROUND 2 MATCHUPS (REGION A)
#1 Sen. Marco Rubio vs #8 Sen. John Thune- In a matchup with two very charismatic Senators who are extremely popular both with establishment GOPers as well as grassroots activists it seems like a tough choice. However, Rubio brings two unique qualities that Thune does not with his Cuban background and potential for influence in the swing state of Florida… winner, Rubio
#2 Gov. Bob McDonnell vs #10 Haley Barbour- Here are two contenders who appear good on paper and could very well give Romney some much needed pull with GOP voters in the South. Though Barbour (former Mississippi Governor) is revered widely throughout Republican circles for his political acumen, McDonnell is currently running a more crucial state in this election (Virginia) and he is also better on the campaign trail. Barbour is regarded as being far better in a “behind the scenes” role… winner, McDonnell
#3 Sen. Rand Paul vs #6 Gov. Bobby Jindal- Kentucky Freshman Senator Rand Paul could be a major asset to the Romney ticket, given his Tea Party popularity and the fact that his father is Ron Paul. However, Governor Jindal has been long seen as one of the nation’s most effective Governors as he has been at the helm in Louisiana to oversee the state’s comeback “post-Hurricane Katrina” and he also brings some diversity to the ticket…winner, Jindal
#4 Sen. Jon Kyl vs #12 Gov. Louis Fortuno- Senator Jon Kyl is leaving his seat in Arizona and with it he leaves behind a stellar career that has given him a high amount of credibility on some of the nation’s most important issues: Foreign Policy, the Judicial Branch of Government, Entitlements, and Tax Policy just to name a few. Fortuno is an interesting choice, as his selection on a Romney ticket would signal a dramatic out-of-the-box move ala Sarah Palin... winner, Kyl
ROUND 2 MATCHUPS (REGION B)
#1 Rep. Paul Ryan vs #8 Rep. Ron Paul- Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan is one of the most popular members of Congress within the GOP. He is praised by the establishment and adored by the grassroots activists. He has long-been-seen as someone with the intellectual capacity to make the case for Conservative principles to the nation at large. Congressman Ron Paul would be a huge gamble for Team Romney seeing as some of his issue positions are in serious conflict with that of the presumptive nominee… winner, Ryan
#2 Gov. Chris Christie vs #7 Rep. Allen West- What a matchup! The always-bombastic Governor Christie of New Jersey pitted against the equally brazen Florida Congressmen West. The negatives are what really will determine who advances. They both bring with them great risk due to their unyielding candor to say exactly what is on their minds and that is also an asset in a strange way. With a choice like this one can only turn to the “experience” card… winner, Christie
#3 Sen. Rob Portman vs #11 Sen. Jim DeMint- Senator Portman is being increasingly seen as one of Romney’s top contenders for the VP slot given his experience on economic policy throughout his career in public service (Congressman, Trade Rep, Budget Director in the Bush White House) and being from Ohio doesn’t hurt either. South Carolina Senator DeMint would be a very surprising pick and it may garner Romney some much needed favor with Tea Party activists who are not yet sold. Portman’s one negative are his ties to the Bush ’43 administration, but that is not enough to disqualify him at this stage… winner, Portman
#5 Gov. Mitch Daniels vs #13 Sen. Pat Toomey- Governor Daniels of Indiana was practically begged to run in 2012 and he decided not to do so for family concerns and it isn’t exactly clear as to how good a candidate he would have been on the national stage. Toomey is Pennsylvania’s Freshman Senator and is very well versed on Tax policy and entitlements. Toomey may be able to help Romney reach out to blue collar voters who feel he can’t relate to them… winner, Toomey
That completes our second round of the GOP 2012 Veepstakes Brackets! Thanks again for reading and I hope you are all enjoying the series! Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions about these matchups and who you think should be the GOP VP nominee!
Here’s a preview for the matchups in the third round:
#1 Sen. Marco Rubio vs #4 Sen. Jon Kyl
#2 Gov. Bob McDonnell vs #6 Gov. Bobby Jindal
#1 Rep. Paul Ryan vs #13 Sen. Pat Toomey
#2 Gov. Chris Christie vs #3 Sen. Rob Portman
Amir Iljazi is the U.S. Politics Editor of Menzies House. He earned his Master's Degree in Political Science at American University in Washington, D.C. and currently resides in Tampa, Florida. Before relocating back to Florida, he specialized in longitudinal campaign tracking and voter trends for Federal Races nationwide while working for a Washington DC based center-right political advocacy organisation. You may follow him on Twitter@Michi83