Elections 2012: Mitt Romney’s Potential Vice-President Picks

Mitt Romney’s search for a running mate will be guided by a few factors, and the individual qualities and resumes of each potential pick will play an important role.

Don't look for a vice presidential shocker from Mitt Romney. His choice of a running-mate – a search he announced Monday he has begun – will be guided by both his methodical, risk-averse corporate training and the lessons his party learned from Sarah Palin's selection. Photo: Talk Radio News Service/Flickr

The safer picks for Romney are all white men: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, suggests The Huff Post.

Among the riskier picks are women or minorities in the Republican Party Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. There are also two white men on the riskier list: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Marco Rubio, Florida Senator, is a young Cuban-American senator would bring spark and glamour to Romney’s campaign that has often lacked both, tells The Telegraph. Rubio could also help Romney overcome his major poll deficits among Latino voters and may help deliver the crucial swing state of Florida for the Republicans.

But at the same time he has been in the Senate less than two years and is quite vulnerable to accusations he is not qualified to be President. Moreover, he was also briefly a Mormon before reverting to Catholicism, which may raise concerns among Evangelicals.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman also is near the top of many speculative lists of potential running mates, according to The Huff Post. Portman endorsed Romney and campaigned hard for him in his home state.

Portman is unlikely to spring any surprises on the Romney campaign. He served as U.S. trade representative under President George H.W. Bush and then as Bush’s director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor would certainly relish the chance to bring the fight to Obama on a national stage. Christie is known for his thundering speeches and for taking on and defeating hecklers.

He also backed Romney early and stayed loyal during all the campaign. But Romney aides worry that his star power might overshadow their stiff and measured candidate.

GOP budget guru Paul Ryan came from humble beginnings. Ryan campaigned at Romney’s side for several days ahead of Wisconsin’s recent Republican primary, a victory that helped push Rick Santorum out of the race. Ryan is a numbers-and-policy ace. He runs through the intricacies of Medicare, Social Security and budgets with the efficiency of a machine.

However, it’s unclear whether Ryan’s role as face of the Congressional Republican budget plan, which includes a fundamental transformation of Medicare, would present too much political risk.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty comes from a working-class background that could help Pawlenty also has an ability to connect with blue-collar voters that Romney does not.

He’s been aggressively campaigning on Romney’s behalf since suspending his presidential campaign last year. And the personal connection between Romney and Pawlenty should not be underestimated.

Among the women most likely on Mitt Romney’s list of possible running mates are New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, tells ABC News. Both of them are among a handful of Republican women who might be perfectly qualified or suited to be on the bottom of the ticket this year.

Other women who could be considered as Romney’s No. 2 are Susana Martinez, the New Mexico governor who could curry favor with Hispanics. But she said she doesn’t want to leave her disabled sister alone and move to Washington.

The second is Kay Bailey Hutchison, the most senior female Republican senator; and even a fellow private-sector maven like Carly Fiorina, the former chairwoman of HP who ran for Senate in California.

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