It’s too early to get overly concerned about who the nominees will select for their running mates. There’s a long way to go between now and the summer conventions. But speculating about potential vice presidential candidates can be fun. And with Senator John McCain’s march to the nomination back on track tonight with his three Potomac wins, I thought I’d offer a short list of candidates the Senator may want to consider once he officially wraps up the GOP nomination:
- Senator Susan Collins (Maine)
- Senator Elizabeth Dole (North Carolina)
- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas)
- Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
- Governor Jodi Rell (Connecticut)
- Senator Olympia Snowe (Maine)
Yes, there are others who the Senator will no doubt consider, but they’re all white males. Where’s the fun in that? And you have to admit, a woman on the Republican ticket would certainly make things interesting — especially if a woman is not on the Democratic ticket.
Senator Hillary Clinton represents historic change for America — the breaking of the ultimate glass ceiling. There’s only one problem: there’s a very good chance she won’t win the Democratic presidential nomination. That fickle dynamic called momentum is currently hanging out in Senator Barack Obama’s camp. And while some Democrats get excited about an Obama/Clinton ticket, the odds are against Senator Obama offering her the vice presidential spot or Senator Clinton accepting it.
Senator Obama could select a female running mate. There are several women Senators and Governors in the Democratic party. However, it might be that the maximum number of historical candidates any one ticket can carry is one. Which, under normal circumstances, would mean an all male presidential campaign.
Unless Senator McCain decides to go for a little history himself. There are currently six female Republican U.S. Senators and a single Republican woman Governor. Throw Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and it’s a diverse and strong list.
There is a slight problem with these candidates: with the exception of Senators Dole and Hutchison, they are all moderates — which means one more reason for conservative Republicans to stay home on election night. While Senators Dole could appeal to the more conservative wing, I’m not sure this is the year for either party to nominate a ticket in which both candidates are in their 70’s. And Secretary Rice has never run for office before.
Which leaves Senator Hutchison. She’s more conservative than Senator McCain. She’s won four statewide elections in Texas, never receiving less than 60 percent of the vote. She’s the fourth ranking Republican in the Senate, serving as the party’s Policy Chair. Although she’s 64 that’s still seven years younger than Senator McCain.
If Senator Hutchison doesn’t make the cut, Governor Rell would be worth a look, in spite of her support for domestic partnership rights. She’s proven herself an effective chief executive and would be a big boost for Senator McCain in the contest of independent voters.
The odds are Senator McCain will make a more boring choice. But he should keep in mind: either Senator Hutchison or Governor Rell would give the Democrats fits come the general election. And after all, isn’t that what a vice presidential candidate is supposed to do?