Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also was a natural choice. Both parties covet Ohio almost more than any other state because it’s usually in play and it has a significant Electoral College total. Portman’s experience in Washington might have been helpful, but he wasn’t a particularly well-known political name, and that could have been an asset for Romney.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out early in the GOP primary process, and that signaled the possibility that Romney would tab him as a running mate. But Pawlenty polled so surprisingly weakly during the primary season that his stock probably fell before Romney even won the necessary states to assure his nomination.
Then there’s former Ambassador Jon Huntsman. He might have been the most attractive candidate of all because he had Washington experience and had served as governor of Utah. But if Huntsman had anything working against him, it was the fact that he was probably too much like Romney — a wealthy Mormon whose strongest political base was in Utah, a state Romney already can claim.
Another possible candidate who would have been strong for the base is Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri. Like Ohio, Missouri is a swing state. Bond’s career in Washington and his Midwest roots likely would have served to moderate the ticket, but Romney chose to side with the leftover tea party momentum of 2008 and 2010.
Let’s call it going vogue in 2012 instead of going rogue like Sarah Palin did in 2008.
• Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached through the newspaper at email@example.com.