Bloomberg conducted an utterly unscientific and informal poll of state leaders attending the National Governors Association annual meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, this weekend, asking them to guess who they think will join presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in his bid for the White House.
One Democratic governor, who diplomatically declined to single out anyone on the record, was the survey’s first respondent and topped his list with names that would come up repeatedly throughout the weekend: Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker kept the first two names and added one more: U.S. Representative and fellow Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, who he said would add heft to the ticket for his economic and budgetary expertise. Colorado’s democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, also ranked Portman and Pawlenty on top, adding that he thought Romney would appreciate the former’s disciplined and deliberative nature. Alabama’s Robert Bentley, a Republican, picked Rice.
Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin, a Republican, said governors are uniquely qualified for their experiences running states and pointed to Virginia’s Robert McDonnell, New Jersey’s Chris Christie (who was said to be at the meeting yet proved elusive to this reporter), and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal — though Portman and Rice would be good too, she said.
Arizona’s Jan Brewer, a Republican, said she was a betting woman but declined to put her money on anyone in particular. Her fellow party members Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, David Heineman of Nebraska, and Terry Branstad of Iowa also declined, as did Democrat Jay Nixon of Missouri.
While the governors meeting is typically a bipartisan affair focused on shared concerns, Vermont’s Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, used the opportunity to take a pot-shot at his colleagues across the aisle. “These people have become so unpredictable and irrational that I can’t possibly understand how they think so I won’t try to guess,” he said. “They’ve lost my ability to try and follow their reasoning.”
William Selway contributed to this post