Rubio talks veeps and swing states

November 12, 2015

HILTON HEAD, S.C.–The likes of John Kasich should take note: Marco Rubio believes that just because you’re from an important swing state doesn’t necessarily mean you are vice presidential running mate material.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Nashua, New Hampshire November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Some Republican strategists and, yes, some Democrats too, see a Rubio-Kasich matchup as potentially lethal to the Democratic hopes of hanging on to the White House in 2016 because Rubio, from Florida, and Kasich, the Ohio governor, are from two of the biggest swing states and could potentially deliver a decisive blow in the election by delivering their home states.

But whether that would actually play out was subject to doubts on Thursday when Rubio was asked at a South Carolina Chamber of Commerce event about his thinking  in terms of who he might pick as a running mate should he win the party’s nomination.

The presidential campaign is so national now, Rubio said, that “I actually don’t believe anymore that you win a state by nominating someone” from that state.

There’s something to be said for his reasoning. Republican Mitt Romney’s No. 2 in 2012, now-House Speaker Paul Ryan, was not attractive enough to voters to deliver his home state of Wisconsin. Democratic incumbent Barack Obama won the state decisively on his way to re-election.

Rubio said his criteria are that “it  has to be someone who is ready to be president,” should there be a need to step in, has to be someone who shares Rubio’s values and principles of governing, and it has to be “someone you can work with.”

“That’s really critical,” he said. “The synergy is critical.”

Rubio said the good news is Republicans have a deep talent pool from which to pick a vice presidential running mate. One name that he mentioned in particular: the governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez.

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