Election in Focus: The Veepstakes!

Blog Post
With both of the presidential nominations secured, attention now turns to who each of the candidates will tap as their vice presidential running mate.

Here is a quick look at the leading names being considered by both candidates.


Newt Gingrich (R-GA) – Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is at – or near the top – of almost every list of possible running mates for Donald Trump. Gingrich would bring extensive legislative experience and a deep well of policy knowledge to the ticket. Gingrich has been one of the most high profile defenders of Trump during his run for president. While Gingrich does have his share of personal baggage, Gingrich is an accomplished debater, comfortable on television, well connected in the Republican establishment, and a nationally known commodity.

Chris Christie (R-NJ) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the first big name supporter of Trump after he ended his own presidential bid. Christie is the former head of the Republican Governors Association and shares Trump's blunt-spoken style. Christie might be able to attract independents and moderates given his own record. Christie, who is deeply unpopular in New Jersey, probably doesn't help Trump bring a state to his column electorally. Some analysts wonder if Trump should consider a candidate who balances the ticket temperamentally – something Christie certainly would not do.

Jeff Sessions (R-AL) – Senator Jeff Sessions, a leading proponent of cracking down on illegal immigration, was the first sitting U.S. Senator to endorse Trump. Sessions is the only sitting member of the House or Senate who is considered a potential pick by Trump. Selecting Sessions would result in Trump doubling-down on illegal immigration as his signature issue. Sessions is a regular on the political talk shows. Sessions, from deep red Alabama, does not help Trump electorally or geographically. Some worry that Sessions’ incredibly conservative positions on other issues – particularly social issues – could turn off women, independents and swing voters.

Other names in the mix: Governor Mary Fallin (R-OK), former Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ).


Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – Senator Elizabeth Warren is a favorite among liberals and progressives. She is an outspoken and harsh critic of Donald Trump. Selecting Warren is probably the best way for Clinton to motivate Bernie Sanders’ voters (short of actually selecting Sanders). While Sanders fires up the Democratic base, many analysts wonder whether the country is ready for an all-female ticket. Additionally, Massachusetts currently has a Republican Governor who would have the ability to select Warren's Senate replacement in the event Clinton won, something that is concerning to Democrats who hope to retake the Senate in November.

Tim Kaine (D-VA) – Senator Tim Kaine is a popular politician and former Governor of the electorally key purple state of Virginia. Selecting Kaine would certainly help to lock down Virginia for the Democratic ticket. Kaine has a far more moderate profile than many others on Clinton's short list – something that could be helpful in winning over independents and swing voters but a fact that might not sit well with the progressive Democratic base. Kaine, while not the most exciting political figure, comes with no personal baggage.

Julian Castro (D-TX) – Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is young, telegenic and – most importantly to Clinton – Hispanic. Selecting Castro would draw a huge divide over immigration with the Trump campaign and would certainly excite the politically important and growing Hispanic voting bloc. Castro is a relative unknown nationally, and comes with a thin profile experience-wise. What Castro lacks in experience, however, could more than be made up with his ability to appeal to Hispanics. Castro could help put several keys states with growing Hispanic populations in play for the Clinton campaign.

Other names in the mix: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

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