IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Here's What Donald Trump Must Consider in Picking a Running Mate

The vice presidential pick could prove to be as unexpected and unorthodox as the rest of the billionaire businessman's insurgent campaign.
Image: Donald Trump
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop on May 2, 2016, in South Bend, Ind.Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

Donald Trump has been a one-man wrecking crew for political expectations, beating and upending the normal order of politics from the day he launched his campaign until Tuesday night, when he effectively wrapped up the Republican nomination.

But the tycoon-turned-contender says when it comes to picking a vice president, he’s going by the playbook — a conventional move that’s unexpected for him.

Related:It's Donald Trump's GOP After Ted Cruz Drops Out

So who's he looking for? Someone "political," Trump said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday after his decisive primary win in Indiana.

"I have the business — let's call it talents," Trump added. "And I think I'll probably go the political route, somebody that can help me with legislation and somebody that can get things passed and somebody who has been friends with the senators and the congressman, so we don’t have to go the executive order route."

Trump, however, refrained from name-checking a No. 2.

That doesn't mean he couldn't seek out someone within the political realm who could be as unexpected and unorthodox as the rest of the billionaire businessman's insurgent campaign, said Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center.

Related: Senior Adviser: John Kasich to Suspend Presidential Campaign

"Any of the other practical things like balancing out the ticket demographically or in terms of experience, all of that goes by the wayside as all of the rules have gone by the wayside in (Trump's) candidacy," Perry said. "I just don’t think he’s going to follow the past precedence for picking someone."

Despite such uncertainty, Trump could join forces with someone with name recognition or a virtual unknown — either way, a veep that would benefit him by helping fill holes in his candidacy.

Here are some of the biggest criteria that the Trump campaign must consider in filling the position, observers say.

Helps Win a State

John Kasich: The governor of Ohio had been languishing in the GOP primaries, but his one victory — his home state — could prove to be a tantalizing reason to toss him on the ticket. Ohio has been a bellwether state during presidential elections, and according to a University of Minnesota analysis, it has backed the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1964 — the only state to do so. But Kasich doesn't appear to be interested in a Trump pairing. "No chance," a Kasich spokesman told The New York Times.

Marco Rubio: With its 29 electoral votes, Florida is among the biggest prizes. Rubio has not committed to endorsing Trump, and while the Florida senator butted heads with Trump on the campaign trail, his selection as a vice president could be just the boost he needs ahead of possibly mounting another presidential campaign in 2020. Trump — despite downplaying Rubio as "Little Marco" when he ran — has since said he would like the senator to be part of his campaign.

Rick Perry: Trump lost Texas to Texas Sen. Cruz in the GOP primary, and with 38 electoral votes, it would be a desired win in the general election. But Texas Gov. Perry, who had an unsuccessful bid for the nomination, has spoken ill of Trump, denigrating him as a "barking carnival act" and favoring instead fellow Lone Star State politician Cruz.

Helps With a Perceived Weakness

Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor and former presidential candidate has been among Trump’s most high-profile endorsements, and while he skirted the issue of becoming his running mate, Christie seems a possible contender given his political experience and expertise running a state.

Keith Kellogg: If Trump is looking for someone with a military background, he can turn to this retired Army lieutenant general who is already a part of his foreign policy team. Kellogg’s expertise includes helping to run the coalition provisional authority in Iraq from 2003 to 2004. "I think he's very pragmatic," Kellogg recently told MSNBC of Trump. "I'm not sure where he got it, but he has a wonderful instinct for what, as we used to call them in the military, the 'average Joe' thinks about the world."

Tea Party Darlings

Sarah Palin: As the running mate of Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, Palin has been tested on the campaign trail — and has already been stumping for Trump in Iowa, Wisconsin and Florida. But while she was a tea party favorite in 2008, she hasn’t quite connected with voters during rallies, making her a tougher sell in 2016.

Rick Scott: The Florida governor is an outspoken Trump supporter and himself lauched an anti-establishment campaign when he ran for office in 2010, vowing to cut the size of government. In asking the party to "coalesce" around Trump, Scott gave a populist push in a statement of support: "When I first ran for Governor the political class and party leaders opposed me with great vigor, and some even said if I won the primary they would never vote for me. But the voters had other ideas, and they are the only ones who count."

Allen West: The former Florida congressman and army veteran became a prominent part of the tea party movement and spent his two years in Congress railing against the Obama administration. While he said in a recent radio interview that he doesn’t want to actively run for political office anymore, he wouldn’t mind being tapped as someone’s vice president. “If the American people need me back, I’m here. I’m ready to go,” he told conservative radio host Jeffrey Kuhner.

Scott Walker: The Wisconsin governor, who also dropped out of the GOP race, is no fan of Trump, and had thrown his support behind Cruz before he suspended his campaign. Still, Trump has talked positively of Walker in the past, and Walker has previously not ruled out a vice presidential position in general. "That's just way too premature," he said in March before eventually endorsing Cruz, according to USA Today.

Establishment Figures

Newt Gingrich: The former Speaker of the House has propped up Trump as the party's new standard bearer and has been generally complimentary of the former reality TV host. In interviews, he has shown interest in a veep role. “If a potential president says I need you, it would be very hard for a patriotic citizen to say no,” Gingrich told The Times.

Rudy Giuliani: Like Gingrich, the former New York City mayor is giving Trump the thumbs up. Giuliani, who has had White House aspirations in the past, has been informally advising his fellow New Yorker's campaign, according to The Washington Post. "It's an honor to have Rudy Giuliani supporting Mr. Trump in his campaign," campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has said.

Women Governors

Mary Fallin: Trump has been hit hard by Democratic rival Hillary Clinton after comments he made that were slammed for being misogynistic. If any prominent female politician is on the shortlist for VP, it could be the Oklahoma governor. Trump seemed to give a nod to the thought of her after tweeting to former South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer his suggestion of Fallin was "great" advice.

Nikki Haley: The South Carolina governor had been another Cruz supporter, and campaigned heavily against Trump ahead of her state's primary. But she could be too hard for Trump to want to pass up: She has a rising star status among Republicans after delivering her party's response to President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address this year.

Susana Martinez: The nation's only Latina governor has been floated as someone Trump should consider. While her press secretary has said she has no intention of becoming a vice president, she would be an asset on several levels, according to observers — not only as a Latina and female, but as a counterpoint to Trump's more brash personality. "She could let Trump keep playing the immigration 'bad cop' part while she can be the 'good cop' to the GOP establishment that wants a Jeb Bush type of approach to immigration," political analyst Victoria DeFrancesco Soto wrote.

Non-Political Wildcard Picks

Ben Carson: Of Trump's former foes for the GOP nomination, the neurosurgeon has been his most vocal supporter since stepping aside. Dr. Carson — while he doesn't have the political chops — could be just the non-establishment figure that he thinks would resonate with voters. Carson has told The Times that he's game "if it was really felt that I would add enormously and bring something that other people wouldn’t bring."

Carl Icahn: Should Trump want another billionaire to bolster his image as he promises to bring more jobs back to America, the investor might be his man. In fact, Icahn has endorsed his friend, Trump, telling CNBC he's a "no-brainer" for the country. "I think he has a chance. He's sending a message to the middle class," Icahn said on "Fast Money: Halftime Report" in September.

Joe Arpaio: The Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff is another Trump supporter and has gained a reputation for patrolling the border — an issue that has come to define Trump's campaign. Trump has promised to get Mexico to build a wall at the U.S.'s southern border, which has angered critics but mobilized parts of the Republican base. Arpaio and Trump appear to be simpatico in general: "I’m not trying to say he copies me,” Arpaio said. "It just so happens we see eye to eye."