A lot has happened since the first time I compiled the top 5 running mate choices for Barack Obama, so it is time to update the list. (Click here to read the first Top 5) I have eliminated people like Jim Webb who don’t support Obama and have said that they aren’t interested in the job. Also not considered for the list are governors like Ed Rendell who have low popularity numbers in their own state.
I have ruled out most of the other 2008 Democratic candidate from the Senate who have either not expressed interest in the job, or would not help Obama geographically. The one big change on the list is Hillary Clinton. She obviously wants on the ticket, so she gets included here.
I still believe that Obama will select a younger Democrat with executive experience that fits in with his message of change. Previous rankings are in parenthesis.
Here’s the List:
1). (2) Gov. Brian Schweitzer – Ranking the Montana governor first ahead of many more nationally known names might comes as a surprise to some, but he fits Obama’s needs perfectly. Before becoming Montana’s first Democratic governor in 16 years, Schweitzer had never held elective office. Schweitzer is a farmer and a rancher who is also a tax cutting, pro-education, pro-green energy Democrat. He has loads of the kind of rural charisma that would appeal to the kind of voters that Obama has struggled with. This would be a fresh looking and sounding ticket that would have broad national appeal.
2). (1) Gov. Bill Richardson – Big Bill gets moved down a position because all of the early indicators in from the Obama campaign are that Obama is going to run on the economy and domestic issues. These aren’t Richardson’s strong suits. Plus Richardson has struggled with white voters in his state, so adding a candidate who have difficulty appealing to white voters doesn’t make much sense. If this election was about foreign policy, Richardson would still be the obvious number one, but he will still be one of the top candidates for Secretary of State.
3). (NR) Sen. Hillary Clinton – She belongs on this list now because she wants on the ticket and had almost 18 million people vote for her during the primary. I believe that women will still move towards Obama, even without Clinton on the ticket. Where she would help most is with older and rural Democrats. These are groups that McCain is looking to add to his column in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, but unless Clinton can leverage her way on to the ticket, it’s doubtful that Obama will choose her.
4). (3) Gov. Kathleen Sebelius – The Kansas governor slips a slot in the rankings only because Clinton seems to want the job. She is still a governor that has not had an approval rating under 60% in over two years. She and Obama would form a dynamic Midwestern ticket. Sebelius has balanced the state budget without raising taxes, has made improving early childhood education a priority, and is a strong advocate of wind as an alternative energy source for the state of Kansas. If Obama wants a female running mate who isn’t Clinton, Sebelius will be his choice.
5). (NR) Gov. Ted Strickland – The popular Ohio governor moves into the ranks as a possible compromise choice. He was a Clinton supporter, and he is another governor who believes in the development of more energy for his state. The difference is Strickland is looking to increase the production of electricity through the use of coal. His educational focus has been on making college more affordable. He believes in commonsense government. He also has a background as a minister, which would help appeal to rural, conservative voters.
Out of the Rankings:
Gov. Janet Napolitano (D-AZ)