Who would Donald Trump choose as a running mate?The Republican presidential candidate has largely shied away from giving specifics when asked this question. But earlier this month, when pressed on the topic, Trump hinted about his thinking on the issue, saying: “I’m not a politician. I would want to choose a politician. I’m a business man.”
Asked who he thinks the New York businessman should pick, former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg tells The Daily Caller: “Either a military general, primary opponent or governor from a purple state.”
“He will lead best on the economy and executive attributes against Hillary Clinton,” Nunberg said. “VP should help with national security and government experience.”
Here are 15 people — some more probable than others — that Trump could tap as his running mate:
NAME: Scott Brown
POSITION: Former Massachusetts senator
THE THINKING HERE: Brown is a New England Republican who, like Trump, has been known to emphasize his opposition to illegal immigration. He endorsed Trump before the New Hampshire primary.
NAME: Jeff Sessions
POSITION: Alabama senator
THE THINKING HERE: A low-key personality who is on the same page with Trump on immigration and trade but wouldn’t overshadow him. Sessions hasn’t formally endorsed Trump, but he’s the closest thing to a Trump supporter inside the U.S. Senate.
NAME: John Kasich
POSITION: Governor of Ohio/2016 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: Kasich and Trump couldn’t be more different, but as the saying goes, as Ohio goes, so goes the presidency. Kasich won re-election as governor of Ohio in 2014 with 63 percent of the vote.
NAME: Marco Rubio
POSITION: Florida senator/2016 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: Florida. Florida. Florida. Rubio may be trying to establish himself as Trump’s chief establishment rival today, but he could later help Trump in his swing state — and potentially with Hispanic voters nationwide.
NAME: Ben Carson
POSITION: Neurosurgeon/2016 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: Trump viciously attacked Carson when they were close to each other in the polls (deriding him as “pathological”). But if he wanted to double-down on his outsider brand, Carson could be his man. Carson has even said he’d consider being Trump’s running mate.
NAME: Chris Christie
POSITION: Governor of New Jersey/2016 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: Christie has won two elections in a blue state. And like Trump, he is proudly outspoken, running for president under the slogan “telling it like it is.” Like Rubio and Kasich, he could also help the GOP establishment cope with a Trump nomination.
NAME: Ted Cruz
POSITION: Texas senator/2016 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: This seems increasingly unlikely, considering Trump has repeatedly branded Cruz a “liar” in recent weeks. But Trump is a deal-maker, and teaming up with Cruz could be his ticket to winning a majority of delegates if there is a contested Republican National Convention.
NAME: Newt Gingrich
POSITION: Former House speaker/2012 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: Gingrich has spoken positively of Trump. Gingrich, during the 2012 race, tapped into some of the same anger that Trump has this year. The former speaker is also an idea machine — something that could come in handy.
NAME: Sarah Palin
POSITION: Former Alaska governor/2008 GOP vice presidential nominee
THE THINKING HERE: Palin endorsed Trump before Iowa and Trump has sung her praises. Her brand of conservative populism is similar to Trump’s.
NAME: Joe Scarborough
POSITION: Former Republican congressman/Host of “Morning Joe”
THE THINKING HERE: Scarborough and Trump are friendly and the candidate is a frequent presence of his show. Radio host Hugh Hewitt recently made an on-air pitch to Scarborough, saying Trump “needs Florida, he needs someone who is media savvy, he needs someone that he gets along with relatively well and understands media.”
NAME: Rudy Giuliani
POSITION: Former New York City mayor/2008 GOP presidential candidate
THE THINKING HERE: Rudy’s age could be an issue — he is 71 — but he’s friendly with Trump and has informally advised him on politics. There’s also the constitutional problem of Trump and Giuliani both being from the same state. But Giuliani has governing experience as mayor that Trump could find appealing.
NAME: Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis
POSITION: Former commander of United States Central Command
THE THINKING HERE: If Trump wanted to go with a general to help with foreign policy and national security, “Mad Dog” Mattis could fit the bill. An intellectual who is currently a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, Mattis is known for his colorful quotes, including once famously telling Iraqi military leaders: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f—k with me, I’ll kill you all.”
NAME: David Perdue
POSITION: Georgia senator
THE THINKING HERE: Perdue isn’t well known nationally but the Republican was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. His pitch in that election? The former CEO of Dollar General ran as a conservative businessman outsider — meaning he has political experience but could supplement Trump’s message that the country needs a businessman to fix things. He’s also on the same page with Trump on immigration.
NAME: Paul LePage
POSITION: Governor of Maine
THE THINKING HERE: LePage is a New England politician with governing experience who is also known for not caring about political correctness — something Trump would appreciate. For example, LePage suggested last month that drug dealers deserve the guillotine.
NAME: Rick Scott
POSITION: Governor of Florida
THE THINKING HERE: Like Rubio, there’s the whole Florida being a swing state argument. Scott, a businessman before he became governor, hasn’t endorsed anyone in the Republican race. But he has spoken positively of Trump before, writing in an op-ed: “I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the U.S. economy.”