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The Veepstakes Are On

Posted on Monday, June 10, 2024
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by Shane Harris
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With less than five months to go until Election Day, speculation is swirling about who Republican nominee Donald Trump might choose as his running mate. Here is a look at the top contenders and the strengths each might provide to the Republican ticket.

Ben Carson

Once Trump’s rival for the 2016 GOP nomination, Dr. Ben Carson, one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons before his entry into politics, went on to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the 45th president. He was one of just four cabinet secretaries to serve the entirety of Trump’s first term.

This year, Carson has become a top surrogate for Trump on the campaign trail after endorsing him early in the primary, regularly appearing on TV to support the former president. As a black man, Carson has been especially effective making the case for Trump to African American voters – a demographic which polling suggests could swing toward Trump this November.

Carson’s deep Christian faith, which he speaks about often, would also help highlight Trump’s record of defending religious liberty and Christian values during his first term.

JD Vance

Entrepreneur and author JD Vance, now a freshman senator from Ohio, has made waves since coming to Capitol Hill as a savvy antagonist of the corporate media and fierce defender of President Trump’s America First agenda. Vance has proven particularly adroit at blasting Biden’s economic policies and his spending enormous sums on foreign aid while the American people face a plethora of crises at home.

As a former Marine, Vance has also been outspoken about ending the left-wing politicization of the military, and he has become a top critic of Biden’s border failures.

Vance’s firm grasp of populist policies, molded by his upbringing in a blue-collar rust belt town in southwest Ohio, could make him especially appealing as a vice-presidential candidate as Trump looks to retake Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania this year. Vance has demonstrated a deep understanding of the political and societal forces which led to the economic struggles of this region, and would likely prove an especially effective communicator to voters there.

Bill Hagerty

Bill Hagerty, the junior senator from Tennessee, is perhaps a more under-the-radar VP contender, but could nonetheless prove a strong addition to the GOP ticket.

Prior to his run for Senate, Hagerty served as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, where he played a major role in bringing significant investments from Bridgestone, Nissan, and other companies to the Volunteer State. His expertise in finance and international business could make him especially well-suited to assist Trump in re-shoring manufacturing jobs and shaking off the economic malaise of the Biden years.

Hagerty also has personal history with Trump, serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 2017 to 2019. With China posing a mounting threat to American security interests in the South Pacific, Hagerty’s first-hand experience in the region is another potential upside of having him in the vice presidency.

In the Senate, Hagerty has proven himself a courageous defender of conservative values. Back in 2021, Hagerty made a bold last stand against Biden’s $1.2 trillion inflation-causing infrastructure bill that has turned out to be little more than a slush fund for liberal pet projects, even despite immense pressure from other Republicans to relent and allow final passage of the bill. For a freshman senator to show such backbone speaks volumes about Hagerty’s commitment to core conservative principles – something Americans would well appreciate in a VP pick.

Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio – another of Trump’s 2016 challengers – has remained a top supporter of the former president and could be a strong compliment to the ticket.

Along with black voters, Trump has also seen significant polling gains with Hispanics. Rubio, who is bilingual, would likely help boost Trump even further with this demographic.

Rubio is the most experienced politician of those reportedly under consideration to become Trump’s running mate, having served in the Senate since 2011. His relationships there and understanding of the legislative process could prove helpful in passing Trump’s agenda if he is re-elected.

One potential complication with selecting Rubio is that Trump is also a Florida resident, and the Constitution prohibits the president and vice president candidate from being from the same state. While Trump could change his residency, a Rubio selection could still raise some thorny legal questions.

Tim Scott

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is another seasoned operator in Congress’s upper chamber, having served there since 2013. In that time, he has effectively navigated between the caucus’s more establishment wing and newer more populist members, a skill which could be useful as an ambassador for Trump on Capitol Hill.

Like Carson, Scott has also focused on appealing to black Americans to make the case for Trump, and recently launched a $14 million outreach effort to minority voters.

Doug Burgum

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum is perhaps the most surprising candidate on every short list of VP contenders. A largely unknown politician before announcing his longshot bid for the presidency last year, Burgum has nonetheless become a fixture at Trump campaign events after dropping out of the race in December.

In particular, Burgum has established himself as knowledgeable on energy, the economy, and foreign policy, and as an effective critic of Biden’s electric vehicle mandate – along with being a generally likable figure. Burgum also has significant personal wealth from his background in the tech industry which he could contribute to the race were he the vice presidential nominee.

Seeming to hint that Burgum is under consideration for the job, or perhaps another high-profile post in the administration, Trump told listeners at a Las Vegas rally in February that they should “get ready for something” because Burgum is “a very smart person… an outstanding person.”

Byron Donalds

Rep. Byron Donalds’ political star continues to rise with the buzz about the Floridian’s chances to become Trump’s VP pick. Although he has only been in the House since 2021, Donalds, a former Tea Party activist, has nonetheless established himself as one of the most exciting and fiery conservatives in Congress.

Like Trump, Donalds has been unafraid to clash with Democrats and the corporate media, often going on networks like CNN and MSNBC and engaging in back-and-forth arguments with liberal commentators. His willingness and ability to defend Trump and the America First agenda in the face of a relentless onslaught from the liberal press would be a valuable asset in a potential second Trump term.

Donalds is also a leader in Congress on education – an issue which has served Republicans well in the past and could motivate turnout this year as well.

Elise Stefanik

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, at just 39 years old, is another rising young star in the Republican Party. She currently serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the fourth-highest ranking House Republican.

Stefanik first began generating some VP talk last December following her grilling of university presidents in the wake of pro-Hamas demonstrations on college campuses. The fallout from that hearing led to the presidents of Harvard and Penn stepping down from their posts and dramatically raised Stefanik’s profile.

In Congress, Stefanik has made a concerted effort to increase the number of female GOP members, and could prove helpful for Trump in messaging women – a group he lost some ground with from 2016 to 2020. She could also help Trump appeal more to younger voters, a typically left-leaning demographic which polling data nonetheless shows has been growing increasingly frustrated with Biden.

In the weeks ahead, the D.C. rumor mill will undoubtedly continue to swirl about who Trump will ultimately tap as his running mate. Although Trump has always had a penchant for surprising observers, and another frontrunner could emerge at the last minute, odds are his pick will be someone on this list.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio. You can follow him on X @shaneharris513.

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David B Riddell
David B Riddell
9 days ago

AARP won’t stop bothering me about rejoining!! They tell me it would be a serious mistake to Join AMAC which I did anyway!! I am aware of AARP’s leaning to the left and supporting Biden’s agenda!!!! I’m a supporter of Donald Trump and can’t believe what the Democrats and Biden are willing to do to make sure Trump can’t defeat Biden!! Biden is using the Justice Department to stop Trump from regaining the White House which we need to survive as a nation!! Biden lies thru his teeth about everything he supports!! AMAC is obviously on our side to take back the White House for our country!!

FDC
FDC
9 days ago

Well…Tex may call Trump a KKK Nazi, but he never funneled money to Iran, Hamas or any other terrorist supporting group. He also did nothing to tear this country apart and when he was in office there was none of this “woke” crap and government support for devisive groups in our country and abroad nor allow open borders to gain a political advantage by giving citizens tax money to them in exchange for votes! Whether we re-elect Trump or another Republican thinking person, the main point is to elect someone who values the Constitution, moral values and supports law and order, fairness and hard working US citizens.

Kathleen Phillips-Hellman
Kathleen Phillips-Hellman
9 days ago

There are NO “former Marines”! Once the title “Marine” is earned, the Marine is a Marine until death!

Jeri
Jeri
9 days ago

Focus needs to be on who is the BEST choice. Ignore gender, religion, skin color, sexual preference and focus on who is best for America…should be the only criteria.

Gary
Gary
9 days ago

Trump’s problem is that he has so very many very well qualified potential candidate running mates . However , i suggest that he not select anyone from the Congress as our margins are just too slim . We cannot afford to lose any Members of Congress ( House & Senate ) /. And he especially cannot pick ANYONE from Florida . Two running mates from the same State (Florida) would reek havoc with the Electoral College . I think Trump should pick a running mate who totally signs onto MAGA & who can communicate well without embarrassing the President and who had either or both Executive or Gubernatorial experience . There’s plenty to chose from . So, how does he pick a running mate without offending the rest of the candidates ? I hope they’re all mature enough to accept whoever he picks for his running mate .

pamela
pamela
9 days ago

Republican’s are soooo lucky to have so many smart people in their party. Blessed.

Myrna
Myrna
9 days ago

I think Doug Burgum is the best choice. Off the top, this person would not subtract a member from the senate or the house.
Some might object that he is a rich white man. I see his wealth as a sign that he knows what he is doing. He has a long history but he is not too old to serve the country for 4 years as vice president and then 8 years as president.

Joe
Joe
9 days ago

Stefanik has only recently made headlines with her pro-Israel stance, however she is still a RINO in my eyes. I have seen commentary that the VP running mate does not greatly impact the presidential election, however it certainly would not hurt if Trump would choose a running mate from one of the swing states who is a firebrand conservative.

David B Riddell
David B Riddell
9 days ago

AARP keeps bothering me to rejoin and it would be a mistake to join AMAC which I did join!! AARP supports Biden and the left!! No thank you AARP!!

George Ruben Rivera Jr
George Ruben Rivera Jr
9 days ago

Trump has stated that his Veep will be a surprise to everyone, and only a very select few will be helpful to the dismantling of the Deep State and would strike terror into their hearts. Top of that stealth list? Michael Thomas Flynn.

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
9 days ago

All sound good. Carson and Rubio are both tops. Kyle L.

Nick
Nick
9 days ago

I would like to see JD Vance. Would make an excellent president. He would carry on Trump’s make America great again. Whoever he picks has to run and be elected in 2028. Trump will be a one-term president. So the VP selection is critical

Sonie P
Sonie P
9 days ago

I think Burgum. After one of the earlier debates, President Trump commented on the debaters, speaking negatively of almost all – except Doug Burgum. He spoke very highly of him, even stating that he (Trump) wanted him in the administration – in a very high position. To me, that speaks volumes about possible intentions.Could the “very high position” be the Vice-Presidency?

Linder
Linder
9 days ago

I don’t know… I still remember how Scott, Stefanik, and Rubio really came down hard on Trump regarding the January 6 “insurrection,” accusing him publicly. They may have done a few good things since, but I’ve never really heard them side with Trump, and I still remember all who caved and all who are traitors to Trump. They wouldn’t have my vote. MAGA.

Leslie
Leslie
9 days ago

Trump NEEDS to pick a great VP. Voters who do NOT want to vote for him will only do so if they know that a capable VP is in the wings if he gets sentenced to serve time and has to resign after he’s elected. I swallowed the bile and voted for him in 2016 and 2020, because the alternatives were worse. This time, we have two rotten choices, and the only way he will win is to have a VP that people can trust will lead the country out of the mess the liberals have caused. If Biden wins again (and I’m sure the Dem machine has plans to do exactly that) I fear that America is done.

David
David
9 days ago

Burgum might be a good pick. I came across him during his presidential campaign. Like Trump, he is not a career politician (which I like) and North Dakota had growth in energy in recent years. Burgum isn’t seeking reelection for governor (although he is eligible) and he stood up in North Dakota to save women’s sports. He seems like a centrist, which could attract common sense voters, but I don’t know how he would be on things like foreign policy.
I hope Trump doesn’t pick Stefanik – she’s not going to attract value voters.
One guy I like (and Trump seems to like him) is Louie Gohmert who didn’t seek re-election to the U.S. House because he ran for Attorney General of Texas. While I think Gohmert would be good I think northeastern Republican voters (and some midwestern Republican voters) would see him as “too far to the right.” I was impressed that Gohmert wasn’t afraid of Obama.

Thinking
Thinking
9 days ago

I kind of like JD Vance. Young enough to run 8 more years after Trump. He is a steady thoughtful politician. Of course I don’t know if there are skeletons in his past that would make him ineligible. Burgum is too old and stiff. Relates more to sloppy than to Trump. But what do I know. Just hope Trump picks a good one. Not a Mike Pence who stabs you in the back when things get tough.

Bruce
Bruce
9 days ago

It is insane (unless she doesn’t want it) that Tulsi Gabbard’s name is not at the top of the list. Perhaps the GOP doesn’t want to win in November so they can continue to complaint about Biden?

Cindy
Cindy
9 days ago

This is the time to go ‘outside the Box’! How about we start ‘Operation CLEAN HOUSE’ with a fresh, young face as VP. I think Candace Owens would be a great choice!

mikem
mikem
9 days ago

anybody but burgum.

Sue Rutkowski
Sue Rutkowski
8 days ago

I vote for JD Vance. The others would be well suited for various cabinet posts I believe.

John Shipway
John Shipway
9 days ago

I hope President Trump avoids completely the entirety of the war whore class of which several of the mentioned potential candidates are most certainly members of, I mean, c’mon, Rubio or Scott for Gods sake? If he weren’t thankfully dead these two would be on one teet each of former Senator John McCain who was responsible for promoting the mass slaughter of more civilians than Smallpox managed across several centuries,
With President Trump we constantly get the promise of “MAGA”, Lets actually stick to that plan rather than fattening only the defense contractors with neveur ending conflicts across the globe. I mean our debt far exceeds the entire GDP of this nation yet that means nothing to the disgusting Neo-Cons.

MELODY HUELSEBUSCH
MELODY HUELSEBUSCH
9 days ago

I keep hoping Trump will surprise us and select Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I suspect he has approached her but she still has children to raise and may not want to enter the lion’s den. She is bright, articulate and understands how deep the swamp is. Trump needs to select someone who can follow his four year term with like-minded policies and strength. Sarah would get my vote without hesitation.

Candace Gonzalez
Candace Gonzalez
9 days ago

I really like Bryon Donalds, although I assume he would create the same problems as Rubio considering he represents a Florida district in the House and is a resident of that state. Since the House & Senate are both ill advised to lose sitting Republican representatives & Senators might not be the best idea to pick one as a running mate.. Although she’s very new to her current job, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, would be a good choice but may not be willing to leave her current position.

CLIFFORD F GERACI
CLIFFORD F GERACI
9 days ago

I like Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Vice President

Rik
Rik
9 days ago

Lying Jackass Presidential Imposter will cheat again to “win” again!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
9 days ago

SCOTT, Burgahm, Donalds

anna hubert
anna hubert
9 days ago

Someone of Judge Jenene caliber

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