There is one month left for Donald Trump to pick a running mate, and Republicans are still divided over who he should choose.
GOP members of The POLITICO Caucus – a panel that is consisted of activists, strategists and operatives in 10 key battleground states cleaved when they were asked who should be Trumps running mate.
Gaining the most support were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (13 percent), Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (9 percent), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (8 percent), former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (8 percent), Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (7 percent) and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (7 percent).
A plurality of Democratic and nonpartisan members see Rubio, who is reconsidering whether to retire from the Senate before next week’s filing deadline to run for reelection, as Trump’s strongest running mate. Given a list of seven possible choices, just over a third said Rubio would be Trump’s best possible pick — far more than any other individual potential candidate.
For Republicans, the answers were slightly different.
Gingrich, who left the House after the 1998 midterm elections and unsuccessfully sought the GOP presidential nomination four years ago, emerged as the narrow favorite. “He’s intimately knowledgeable how Congress works and has a keen understanding of how to push the Executive Branch,” said a Florida Republican.
Speaker Gingrich also brings the conservative credibility that should assuage some of the establishment class which is licking their wounds after being squeezed and beaten for the past year.”
“He is excellent on his feet,” added a Virginia Republican.
Rubio, who has said he isn’t interested in being Trump’s running mate, was the second choice.
“Rubio understands public policy, he’s smart, has great legislative experience, he’s young, good looking and Hispanic – and women like him,” said a Colorado Republican.
Unlike Rubio, Kasich hasn’t even endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee – but a number of GOP insiders said they wanted him on the ticket
“[Trump] needs stability and Ohio,” said one Virginia Republican.
And Rice, the former secretary of state, was praised for her foreign policy chops – and her ability to negate a likely Trump weakness.
“She has everything that Trump does not, everything,” said a Florida Republican.
The other two potential candidates to earn significant support were Ernst, the first-term Iowa senator, and Sessions, the immigration hawk from Alabama.