GOP Turns Its Attention to a Running Mate
April 29 (Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News) With Mitt Romney having sewn up the Republican presidential nomination in every sense except literally, many are wondering -- and weighing in on -- who his running mate might be.
At Friday night's annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, hosted by the Cheshire County Republicans, several prominent GOP backers gave their thoughts on what -- if not who -- might make for a good candidate.
"I think it's important to have someone who's ready, willing, and able to be president if the unthinkable happens," said Ovide M. Lamontagne, a Republican candidate for governor in New Hampshire. "I think (Romney) could balance the ticket with someone who comes from a different part of the country, and from a different background."
While Lamontagne wouldn't offer specific names, he did say he'd like it to be someone who's "a good spokesman for Republican values, and someone with experience in public policy."
Others did have names in mind, including one of Lamontagne's opponents, Kevin Smith, also present at the dinner Friday.
Smith said he was very impressed by Congressman Mike Pence, R-Ind., when Pence appeared in New Hampshire a few years ago, and said he'd be a great choice for Romney.
Cheshire County Attorney Peter Heed said that while Romney has all but sealed the nomination, he doesn't believe any snap decisions are in order, even if Heed has his own thoughts on who Romney should tap for the post.
"In looking at our own senator, Kelly Ayotte, she'd be terrific," he said. "She brings a lot to the table. (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie would be a good option, too."
State Sen. Andy Sanborn of Henniker also said he'd like to see Romney choose someone from the Granite State.
"To represent New Hampshire's traditional Yankee values," he said, adding that he'd prefer the choice to be "a business person with national and international experience" from outside the government to generate broader appeal among voters.
Jane P. Lane, secretary of the Cheshire County Republican Committee, said there are several potential candidates she believes would make a great choice.
"I like what I'm hearing about (Ohio Sen.) Rob Portman, (former Florida Gov.) Jeb Bush, and (Florida Sen.) Marco Rubio, because Ohio and Florida are very important states," she said.
And while Lane is a big fan of Ayotte, she's not sure the geography is right for Romney to choose her as his running mate.
"Plus, I'd hate to lose her from the Senate," she said. "She's terrific.
"But I think both Rubio and Bush, because of their Hispanic ties (having served in Florida), and they're both very articulate and well-liked," she said.
Some of Keene's registered Republicans also had thoughts to offer on Romney's impending decision.
"I think Kelly Ayotte could do a good job," said Ward 1 resident Arnold H. Bailey. "From what I've read, she's doing a great job for her first time in office. And she's got that lawyer's background, so that helps."
William H. Edwards, in Ward 2, said that while he doesn't have any one name in mind, he does know what, and who, he doesn't want to see from the GOP.
"Hopefully they won't make the same mistake as last time," he said, referring to Sen. John McCain's 2008 choice of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "It has to be somebody that's seasoned."
Edwards doesn't believe any of Romney's former competitors are in the mix, but did agree with Heed that Christie would make a good choice, because "he understands what the role of government is and what it isn't."
William E. Barker, in Ward 3, said Romney may want to look toward his toughest competitor during the nomination process.
"How about the guy that almost beat him out, Santorum, is that an option?" he asked. "I'm not much into politics, but as long as it's not Obama getting in there."