More interesting than the question of whom Mitt Romney will pick as a running mate is this: Will he get to pick his running mate?
Delegate tracking in the New York Times as of Easter weekend gave Romney only 660 of the 1144 votes needed to win the GOP presidential nomination. Rick Santorum had 281, Newt Gingrich 135, and Ron Paul 51. Those totals included the preferences of superdelegates.
So, in the final 19 primaries between April 24 and June 26, Romney must win 484 of the 989 delegates remaining – 49 percent. If the other three candidates remain in the race, that seems unlikely. The vice presidency could become a bargaining chip.
But if he does win enough delegates, and if they all actually do vote for him on the first ballot, the choice for vice president may be Mitt’s. Whom would he choose? And why?
In previous posts, I’ve explained that, after careful vetting, the nod could go to a popular swing-state governor like New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, who might also help Romney with two demographic groups feeling estranged from the GOP — women and Latinos.
While neither group constitutes a monolithic bloc, and New Mexico has only five votes in the Electoral College, Gov. Martinez is one of the top six candidates on whom people are putting their money at Intrade, coming in ahead of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan April 7 at a probability of 7.8 percent.
Here’s the list:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, of course, is a Tea Party favorite who could excite the GOP base and Latino voters, as well. Michael Crowley, writing in TIME magazine April 6, described Rubio as “a compelling option: young, telegenic, Hispanic and from a critical swing state.”
Sen Rubio is Cuban-American, however. The 2010 census numbered Cuban-Americans at 1,785,547, or 3.5 percent of the total latino population in the US. The census counted 31,798,258 Mexican-Americans – one of them Gov Martinez — and they constituted 63 per cent of the total latino population.
That is a major reason why Crowley, (after looking at Intrade, perhaps) concluded that Rubio’s “political stock is over-valued”.
There is another reason to downgrade the Rubio stock, though, and the stock of Chris Christie even more:
The qualities that led to Crowley’s initial glowing description would overshadow the stiff, awkward manbot at the top of the ticket.