Believe it or not, the Republican Presidential race is nearly over. Mitt Romney has won. Give some parting gifts to our other candidates, and move on to the next part of the show, the national conventions and all the fun that goes along with it. So, while people are standing in line to have their picture taken with Newt for a low, low price of $50, let’s start thinking about the next act. There are always some interesting/strange parts of this, but the highlight is choosing the Vice Presidential nominee.

Mitt has some things to consider, and the person he chooses will likely represent the decisions that he has made. In 2008, for example, Obama figured that he had trouble getting votes from some Democrats, so he chose Biden. McCain knew that he had to energize his campaign, so he picked Sarah. Well, Romney not only has to use his Veep to accomplish something like that, he will also signal to the rest of us how he plans to run against Obama.

Will he try to get independents and suburban women in swing states to vote for him? If this is important to him, he’ll try to pick a running mate who has some likability, some charm, and some ability to generate enthusiasm outside of Utah. He’ll also try to choose someone whose issue positions are in tandem with these groups. We’ll make a couple of assumptions that will eliminate some of the possibilities. First, Mitt won’t pick someone who has a chance of going rogue. Thus, someone like Chris Christie wouldn’t get chosen. He also is unlikely to pick someone who will overshadow him the way that Kemp did in 96 or Palin did in 08. That eliminates some possibilities such as Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush. So, who are some of the possibilities?

• Kelly Ayotte – New Hampshire Senator. She is intelligent, personable, isn’t regarded as strident. Problems arethat she’s from New England, like Romney and she’s in her first term as Senator.

• Susana Martinez – New Mexico Governor. She’s Hispanic, which could help with this demographic group. As governor of a blue state, she has shown that she can get Democratic votes. She is a first-term governor of a small state; sometimes that doesn’t work out as well as might be hoped for by the presidential candidate.

• Tom Corbett – Pennsylvania Governor. He’s a popular governor in a Rust Belt state. His main problem may be that he has some linkage to the Penn State situation, which may explode even more between now and the fall.
All of the above are Catholic.

Or instead, will he try to solidify his support in the Border States and Dixie? Mitt has thus far shown himself to gain enthusiasm among the electorate in these states. Typically, he receives between 25-30% of the primary votes in each state. This isn’t too important in the Deep South; I assume Mitt will still defeat Obama in those. However, without the support of these voters in states like Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Missouri, his lack of conservative support may be crucial. So, should he try to solidify that support with his Veep selection and fight the election in the Rust Belt? Here are some choices that might increase his support here:

• Bobby Jindal – Louisiana Governor – I’ve been leading the cheers for Bobby here for a while now here, so I won’t bore you with the reasons again. As I’ve said, his biggest drawbacks are that he has no interpersonal skills, and that some of his positions may not play too well outside of this region. He’s Catholic.

• Rand Paul – Senator from Kentucky. His nomination would inspire enthusiasm from young activists and would solidify conservatives behind the team. I’d guess that it might be a problem keeping Rand from going rogue or associating him too closely with some of his father’s positions.

• Nikki Haley – South Carolina Governor. She is attractive, intelligent, and charming. Her popularity in the state seems to be on at least a temporary decline because of an issue position on harbors that she has taken. Another first-term governor of a small state, this might make her less able to deal with the Washington media.

Wild Card choices:

• Tim Pawlenty – Ex-Governor of Minnesota. Left the Presidential race after the Ames Straw poll. His soft-spoken manner may make him not the best choice when challenging an incumbent, but he may be one of the best at securing support in the upper Midwest.

• Marco Rubio – Florida Senator. Marco is a Tea Party favorite; his nomination could make Florida solidly Republican. Problems for him are that he’s Hispanic, he may have once been a Mormon, and he’s in his first Senate term.