John Kasich Archives - Page 2 of 29 - Florida Politics

Donald Trump’s campaign investment tops $43 million

Donald Trump poured more than $7.5 million of his own money into his presidential campaign in April, bringing his total personal investment to more than $43 million since he declared his candidacy, new campaign finance reports filed late Friday show.

The billionaire businessman, who swatted away 16 Republican rivals and relied heavily on wall-to-wall media coverage of his outsized personality and often inflammatory remarks, reported spending about $56 million during the primary, which lasted until his final two rivals, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, dropped out of the race at the beginning of May.

In April alone, Trump spent nearly $9.4 million, according to his monthly filing with the Federal Election Commission. Trump’s largest expense in April, about $2.6 million, was for advertisements. The campaign also spent more than $930,000 on direct mail. Other big-ticket items included roughly $585,000 in airfare paid to Trump’s TAG Air Inc.

While much of Trump’s money has come from his own pocket, he reported about $1.7 million in donations last month. Those contributions have come largely from people buying Trump’s campaign merchandise, including the red “Make America Great Again” ball caps, and giving online through his campaign website. Trump didn’t begin developing a team of fundraisers until recently, after he became the presumptive GOP nominee.

Almost all of Trump’s personal investment has come in the form of loans. That leaves open the possibility that he can repay himself now that he’s aggressively seeking donations. A new fundraising agreement he struck with the Republican National Committee and 11 state parties explicitly seeks contributions for his primary campaign.

Yet Trump said in a statement this week that he has “absolutely no intention” of paying himself back.

Instead, he will be able to use any primary money he raises, in increments of up to $2,700 per donor, on expenses such as salaries, advertising and voter outreach over the next nine weeks. After the GOP convention in late July, Trump will officially become the nominee and be restricted to spending money that’s earmarked for the general election.

His likely rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, has a head start on building a war chest for the November election. She partnered with Democratic parties months ago and has been raising millions of dollars for them. In April alone, she collected almost $800,000 in campaign money for the general election.

By contrast, Trump will hold his first campaign fundraiser next week, an event in Los Angeles where the minimum price of admission is $25,000, according to the invitation. Those donations are to be split among Trump’s campaign and his Republican Party allies.

In addition to the Trump campaign’s financial health, the filings also show that when Cruz dropped out, money wasn’t the issue: He had $9.4 million in his campaign coffers at the end of April, just days before his defeat May 3 in the Indiana primary prompted him to end his bid. At the time, Cruz said he left the race because he saw no path forward.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Florida Republicans querying donors on possible vice president choice: Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

So whom do Florida Republicans want to see Donald Trump pick as his running mate? The Republican Party of Florida is asking, in an informal poll attached to a fundraising pitch Monday.

Republican backers are getting a chance to pick from 11 prospects including four of this year’s former presidential candidates such as Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio’s Gov. John Kasich, and some reputed rising stars in the national party such as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott makes the RPOF’s list or prospects. So does former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a 2012 presidential candidate. So do 2016 presidential candidates Ben Carson and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

The list also includes few other emerging names and a couple longer-term lawmakers in the GOP, including Alabama’s U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and three women: Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

No Jeb Bush.

No Ted Cruz.

“Now that Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination, all attention has turned to who he’ll choose as his nominee for vice president. Thankfully, our party has no shortage of qualified candidates for the job,” the RPOF states in its email.

“Mr. Trump has said that — beyond being ready to be president — there are two main factors he’s looking for in a VP nominee: He’s looking for a ‘political person:’ someone who can work with Congress and help him pass his agenda, and someone who he’ll have great chemistry with.”

The party promises results as soon as they’re completed.

Stunned Donald Trump foes face diminished options at GOP convention

Still shaken by Donald Trump‘s triumph, Republican and conservative foes of the billionaire can still cause headaches for the party’s presumptive presidential nominee at this summer’s GOP convention. But their options are shrinking by the day.

With Trump’s last two rivals — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich — abandoning their campaigns, there’s no remaining talk of snatching the nomination away from him with a contested, multi-ballot battle when Republican delegates gather in Cleveland.

Instead, anti-Trump forces are trying to figure out how to use this July’s GOP meetings to keep him from reshaping the party and its guiding principles, perhaps with fights over the platform or even his vice presidential pick.

Many expect Trump to build momentum as the convention nears, narrowing his opponents’ options. Even so, here’s what may be in store:

___

IT’S OVER? WHAT NOW?

Trump’s foes concede he’s likely to arrive in Cleveland exceeding the 1,237 delegates needed to become the nominee. Yet many are still reeling from the contest’s unexpected finale last week and are just starting to think about what they could do at the convention that would be productive.

“There’s going to be a lot of thinking, a lot of praying and a lot talking between all of us,” said Kay Godwin, a Cruz delegate from Blackshear, Ga. “I wish I could give you an answer right now but I think if I did, it would be out of emotion.”

“There are probably some who hope Trump will stick his foot in his mouth or some scandal will come out and that they’ll be able to rally everybody at that point, but at this point there’s really nothing they can do” to block his nomination, said Jason Osborne, a GOP consultant.

___

CONTAINING THE DAMAGE

Many Trump opponents see the Republican platform, the party’s statement of ideals and policy goals, as a place for a stand in Cleveland. The convention’s 2,472 delegates must approve the platform before formally anointing the presidential nominee.

All — including those chosen to support Trump — can vote however they want on the platform. Many conservatives say they will use that vote to keep Trump from reshaping GOP dogma against abortion, for free trade and on other issues.

While it seems likely Trump would prevail, a showdown could be an embarrassment he’d seek to avoid by not pushing divisive changes.

“If the party walks away from any of its clearly cut social, family values issues, it will be an issue,” said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council and GOP delegate from Louisiana. “We’re not just going to fall in line because he’s the nominee.”

Trump has said he would seek to include exceptions for rape and incest to the GOP platform’s opposition to abortion. He’s also flouted the party platform by repeatedly criticizing trade deals and calling NATO obsolete.

“We’d want to make sure the platform is protected from Donald Trump,” said Rory Cooper, senior adviser for the Never Trump political committee.

Trump aides did not return messages seeking comment on his views about the platform.

___

A RUNNING MATE

Trump has said he’d like a vice presidential candidate with government experience.

Yet, as with the platform, delegates can vote as they please in choosing Trump’s running mate. Some opponents suggest they may challenge his choice, either as a protest or to try forcing him to make a different selection.

Recent GOP conventions have formally approved vice presidential candidates by acclamation and no roll call. But if delegates make enough of a fuss, a roll call with plenty of votes for a rival vice presidential candidate is possible.

“He’ll probably pick somebody, and that person is not going to have the automatic ratification status that’s been traditional,” said Roger Stauter, a Cruz delegate from Madison, Wis., who said he would never support Trump.

Others said the convention would likely defer to Trump’s thinking about a strategically smart choice.

“He could pick somebody we’d all get pretty excited about,” said Shane Goettle, a Cruz delegate from North Dakota.

Conservative talk show host Erick Erickson, a Trump opponent, said he expected delegates to accede to Trump’s selection, saying that by July, “the phases of depression and anger” will subside as Republicans accept “their coming defeat.”

___

MUST-WATCH TV?

Many expect Trump — star of his own TV reality shows “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” — to run a more watchable convention than usual.

Beth Myers, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney‘s campaign manager in 2012, was not a Trump supporter during the primaries. But she said Trump knows TV and expects his convention to outshine the Democrats’ in stagecraft and draw millions more viewers than usual.

“My guess is that the Republican convention will not be a chaotic, contested convention,” she said. “Rather, it will be a production of Trump, Inc., and it will be pretty good live television.”

Some of that glitz may not be by choice. Many Republican bigwigs are expected to shun the convention and avoid giving primetime speeches on Trump’s behalf.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Linda Cunningham: Ignore politics for a few months, enjoy the summer

What a blessed relief. Presidential political junkies are down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, down to the Cinderella finalists and we can take the summer off.

OK, I know Bernie Sanders is still hoofing the “I want to live in the White House” shuffle, but he’s not going to be at the top of the donkey ticket come November, so I’m not counting him. I know. If you’re not wanting President Trump, you’re gonna have to vote for that woman. You’re mad. Get over it.

Now, back to the giddy deliciousness of not having to look at Ted Cruz’s smarmy, Eddie Munster face — made worse for the past week with Carly Fiorina’s baleful eyes counting every sweating pore of the man’s face at news conferences.

Back to not having to explain why John Kasich could never be the candidate-of-choice for right-leaning Democrats and moderate Republicans, despite the national media pundits contorting themselves to the contrary. Let Ohio have him back.

Oh, blessed relief. We know the red and blue names on the presidential ballot. While there will be angst and hand wringing all summer, the likelihood of substantive political developments is minimal. Crass though it be, unless one or both of these candidates is abducted by aliens (the real kind, not the immigration variety), it’s going to be The Donald and Hil in November.

Trump’s already creating the to-do list for his first presidential 100 days. He’ll ramp up the charm, he says, warn corporate execs not to send jobs overseas, design the wall between us and Mexico, appoint an Antonin Scalia-style Supreme Court justice and repeal the Affordable Care Act. I assume he’ll take a breath on day 101.

Clinton’s likely got her own first 100 days list, but she’s got to be a bit more coy than Trump since Sanders is still in her rearview mirror. It’s a safe bet her list resembles Trump’s only in the “ramp up the charm” item.

So, if we know the candidates and we’re pretty sure of their platforms, what the heck’s going to keep us junkies fixed for the next six months?

Who’s voting for whom? That’ll be the hot weather speculation and we’ll be at it right up to the last poll closing, when the question will shift to “who voted for whom?”

Hillary voters made up their minds in 2008. They’ve been awaiting validation for 10 years. Donald voters joined the chorus this year, but as soon as they donned that red ball cap, there wasn’t a chance they’d vote any other way.

That leaves millions of registered voters with squirm-worthy choices. Consider the Democrats who’ve hung their stars on Sanders and can’t imagine not feeling the Bern.

Are they willing to “just vote blue, no matter who”? Heck, there are still Elizabeth Warren Democrats wishing she were on the ticket.

There are all those “anyone but Trump” Republicans, who with the departures of Kasich and Ted Cruz, are left with no one but Trump. Can they hold their noses and vote for Clinton?

And, then there are the undecided voters. Political junkies cannot imagine there are undecided voters left, not after the tsunami of multi-platform media. But they’re wrong.

While one would have to have been living under the clichéd rock to be unable to identify Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,  “real people” are not the least bit like we junkies. They turned down — or tuned out — the incessant political rhetoric months ago.

They know they’ll need to make a decision by November, but these voters won’t tune back in until sometime in late September. They’ll pay little attention to the shifting headlines that will shape the summer’s news coverage. But by September, when Labor Day is past, school’s back in session and the weather up north is turning cool, then they’ll listen up.

The undecided voters will choose the Trump and the Clinton who are in the headlines in late September. Not before then. In the meantime, the undecided voters are going to enjoy summer.

Perhaps we should, too.

***

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of KeyWestWatch Media, a digital solutions company for small businesses. She made up her mind back in 2008 and expects to enjoy her summer.

Linda Cunningham: Ignore politics for a few months, enjoy the summer

What a blessed relief. Presidential political junkies are down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, down to the Cinderella finalists and we can take the summer off.

OK, I know Bernie Sanders is still hoofing the “I want to live in the White House” shuffle, but he’s not going to be at the top of the donkey ticket come November, so I’m not counting him. I know. If you’re not wanting President Trump, you’re gonna half to vote for that woman. You’re mad. Get over it.

Now, back to the giddy deliciousness of not having to look at Ted Cruz’s smarmy, Eddie Munster face – made worse for the past week with Carly Fiorina’s baleful eyes counting every sweating pore of the man’s face at news conferences.

Back to not having to explain why John Kasich could never be the candidate-of-choice for right-leaning Democrats and moderate Republicans, despite the national media pundits contorting themselves to the contrary. Let Ohio have him back.

Oh blessed relief. We know the red and blue names on the presidential ballot. While there will be angst and hand wringing all summer, the likelihood of substantive political developments is minimal. Crass though it be, unless one or both of these candidates is abducted by aliens (the real kind, not the immigration variety), it’s going to be The Donald and Hil in November.

Trump’s already creating the to-do list for his first presidential 100 days. He’ll ramp up the charm, he says, warn corporate execs not to send jobs overseas, design the wall between us and Mexico, appoint an Antonin Scalia-style Supreme Court justice and repeal the Affordable Care Act. I assume he’ll take a breath on day 101.

Clinton’s likely got her own first 100 days list, but she’s got to be a bit more coy than Trump since Sanders is still in her rear view mirror. It’s a safe bet that her list resembles Trump’s only in the “ramp up the charm” item.

So, if we know the candidates and we’re pretty sure of their platforms, what the heck’s going to keep us junkies fixed for the next six months?

Who’s voting for whom? That’ll be the hot weather speculation and we’ll be at it right up to the last poll closing, when the question will shift to “who voted for whom?”

Hillary voters made up their minds in 2008. They’ve been awaiting validation for 10 years. Donald voters joined the chorus this year, but as soon as they donned that red ball cap, there was not a chance they’d vote any other way.

That leaves millions of registered voters with squirm-worthy choices. Consider the Democrats who’ve hung their stars on Sanders and can’t imagine not feeling the Bern.

Are they willing to “just vote blue, no matter who”? Heck, there are still Elizabeth Warren Democrats wishing she were on the ticket.

There are all those “anyone but Trump” Republicans, who with the departures of Kasich and Ted Cruz, are left with no one but Trump. Can they hold their noses and vote for Clinton?

And, then there are the undecided voters. Political junkies cannot imagine there are undecided voters left, not after the tsunami of multi-platform media. But they’re wrong.

While one would have to have been living under the clichéd rock to be unable to identify Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,  “real people” are not the least bit like we junkies. They turned down – or tuned out – the incessant political rhetoric months ago.

They know they’ll need to make a decision by November, but these voters won’t tune back in until sometime in late September. They’ll pay little attention to the shifting headlines that will shape the summer’s news coverage. But by September, when Labor Day is past, school’s back in session and the weather up north is turning cool, then they’ll pay attention.

The undecided voters will choose the Trump and the Clinton who are in the headlines in late September. Not before then. In the meantime, the undecided voters are going to enjoy summer.

Perhaps we should, too.

***

Linda Grist Cunningham is editor and proprietor of KeyWestWatch Media, a digital solutions company for small businesses. She made up her mind back in 2008 and expects to enjoy her summer. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Mitch Perry Report for 5.5.16 — Requiem for a would-be contender

John Kasich dropped out of the Republican race for president yesterday, conceding he won’t be the “White Knight” fantasized by #NeverTrump acolytes over the past few months.

The Ohio governor’s departure came less than 24 hours after Ted Cruz “suspended” his campaign, so now we have a full half-a-year to contemplate a TrumpClinton showdown in November.

Although at times it seemed a bit embarrassing, Kasich’s decision to remain in the race despite the fact that he only captured one state and ultimately finished with fewer delegates than Marco Rubio always made sense. That’s because of one simple fact: public opinion polls consistently showed that unlike Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Jeb Bush or any other Republican running, Kasich actually had enough general election potential to become president. If you were to have a contested convention, why not just choose the man who had hung in the race and was a candidate who could go the distance (although the RNC Grand Poohbahs would have had to have changed the rules about the nominee having to win eight primaries or caucuses).

However, like every other Republican other than Trump, GOP primary voters simply weren’t compelled to vote for him.

Kasich was the last Republican to officially to enter the race, announcing his candidacy last July. He immediately jumped to the forefront of what at the time was considered the serious, top-tier candidates who had the credentials to go far.

You know, that same list that included, Bush, Rubio and Scott Walker.

But as CNN reported, whether it was his plan to use a New Hampshire win to vault himself into contention in the states that followed (he finished second), or a big win in Michigan to vault him into his Midwest swing (he finished third), or the clear advantage he claimed to hold in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic (second or third in all), seemingly little that Team Kasich predicted would occur actually happened, other than taking his home state of Ohio.

If folks are mentioning Rubio as a possible running mate (and they are), you can bet they’ll throw Kasich in the mix. The fact that he was an operator on Capitol Hill for a long time and, yes, he’s from the crucial battleground state of Ohio, will keep his name in the media until he vows he doesn’t want it to be. And with the RNC taking place in Cleveland, he’ll be a presence at the convention.

Speaking of Rubio, the Florida senator was hammered for missing so much time on his day job in Washington, but curiously, you rarely heard criticism of Kasich taking so much time off from his duties as Ohio governor to do the same thing.

So if nothing else, Kasich can now get back to work and actually do his job, and hopefully, do it well.

In other news …

The economic analysis paid for by the Tampa/Hillsborough Film & Digital Media Commission says the county commission’s $250,000 incentive plan for the producers of the upcoming film, “The Infiltrator” provided a nearly 4:1 return on investment.

The West Central Florida Federation of Labor has opted not to endorse in the three-way battle for the Hillsborough County Clerk of the Courts race.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine to propose raising the minimum wage so that everybody who works in his city will make at least $13.31 an hour.

Philip Stoddard, the Mayor of South Miami, says he’d like to build a “Wall of Shame” in his region for all the Florida lawmakers who’ve done nothing to fight climate change.

Now that Eric Lynn is out of the race for Congressional District 13, Rick Kriseman is now on the record as backing Charlie Crist in that contest.

Mark Ober’s fundraising numbers are up in his race for re-election for Hillsborough State Attorney, and he’s got powerful businessman John Sykes asking his supporters for more.

And Lake Worth activist Cara Jennings has more to say to Rick Scott in a new video.

John Kasich dropping out of prez race; Donald Trump on clear GOP path

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is leaving the Republican presidential contest, giving Donald Trump a clear path to his party’s nomination.

Kasich will announce the end of his underdog White House bid on Wednesday, according to three campaign officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the candidate’s plans. The decision comes a day after Trump’s only other rival, Ted Cruz, dropped out.

With no opponents left in the race, Trump becomes the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee to take on the Democratic nominee in November — presumably Hillary Clinton.

Though armed with an extensive resume in politics, the second-term Ohio governor struggled to connect with Republican primary voters in a year dominated by anti-establishment frustration. Kasich was a more moderate candidate who embraced elements of President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul and called for an optimistic and proactive Republican agenda.

Even before news of Kasich’s decision surfaced, Trump signaled a new phase of his outsider campaign that includes a search for a running mate with experience governing and outreach to one-time competitors in an effort to heal the fractured Republican Party.

“I am confident I can unite much of” the GOP, Trump said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today Show, as several prominent Republicans said they’d prefer Democrat Clinton over the New York billionaire. In a shot at his critics, Trump added: “Those people can go away and maybe come back in eight years after we served two terms. Honestly, there are some people I really don’t want.”

His comments on several networks came a few hours after Trump, once dismissed as a fringe contender, became all-but-certainly the leader of the Republican Party into the fall campaign against Clinton. The former secretary of state suffered a defeat Tuesday in Indiana to her rival, Bernie Sanders, but holds a definitive lead in Democratic delegates who will decide the Democratic nomination.

The Republican competition changed dramatically with Trump’s Indiana victory and Ted Cruz’s abrupt decision to quit the race. Trump won the Indiana contest with 53.3 percent of the vote, to Cruz’s 36.6 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s 7.6 percent, according to unofficial results.

Some Republican leaders remain acutely wary of Trump and have insisted they could never support him, even in a faceoff against Clinton.

“The answer is simple: No,” Tweeted Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who has consistently said he could not support Trump.

What’s their plan moving forward?

“Prayer,” responded Republican strategist Tim Miller, a leader of one of the GOP’s anti-Trump groups. “Donald Trump is just going to have an impossible time bringing together the Republican coalition.”

Some conservative leaders were planning a Wednesday meeting to assess the viability of launching a third party candidacy to compete with him in the fall. Such Republicans worry about Trump’s views on immigration and foreign policy, as well as his over-the-top persona.

Hours before clinching victory in Indiana, Trump was floating an unsubstantiated claim that Cruz’s father appeared in a 1963 photograph with John F. Kennedy‘s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald — citing a report first published by the National Enquirer.

Trump defended his reference to the Enquirer article on Wednesday morning as “Not such a bad thing,” but the line of attack was the final straw for some Republican critics.

“(T)he GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it’s on the level,” Mark Salter, a top campaign aide to 2008 Republican nominee John McCain, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. He added Clinton’s slogan: “I’m with her.”

On finding a running mate, Trump told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he’ll “probably go the political route,” saying he’s inclined to pick someone who can “help me get legislation passed.” Trump didn’t identify any of the names under consideration.

He also said he’s hoping to decide within a week how to fund a general election campaign, but said he didn’t want to accept money from super PACs. He told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he would begin to accept more political donations.

“I’m really looking at small contributions, not the big ones. I don’t want anyone to have big influence over me,” he said.

A prominent Cruz donor, Mica Mosbacher, quickly signaled support for Trump and urged others to follow.

“I call on fellow conservatives to unite and support our new nominee Trump,” said Mosbacher, widow of a member of George H.W. Bush‘s cabinet. “My heart goes out to Cruz who has a bright future. He did the unselfish thing to drop out.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders eked out a victory over Clinton in Indiana, 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent. But the outcome will not slow the former secretary of state’s march to the Democratic nomination. Heading into Tuesday’s voting, Clinton had 92 percent of the delegates she needs.

“I know that the Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over. They’re wrong,” Sanders said defiantly in an interview Tuesday night. But Clinton already has turned her attention to the general election.

She and Trump now plunge into a six-month battle for the presidency, with the future of America’s immigration laws, health care system and military posture around the world at stake. While Clinton heads into the general election with significant advantages with minority voters and women, Democrats have vowed to not underestimate Trump as his Republican rivals did for too long.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Darryl Paulson: Picking a VP: Criteria, candidates for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump

As we close out the presidential nomination phase, attention is now shifting to the selection of possible running mates for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This will be the first important decision that the candidates must make as they enter the general election phase of the campaign.

Let’s examine some of the criteria that have been used in selecting a vice president in the past. Vice presidents are sometimes selected to unite the party. Ronald Reagan selected George H. W. Bush in an attempt to unite the conservative and eastern establishment wings of the party. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts picked Lloyd Bentsen of Texas to try to unite the northern and southern wings of the Democratic Party. It failed.

A vice president may be selected to appeal to a certain demographic group. For example, that’s what Walter Mondale‘s choice of Geraldine Ferraro of New York as the first female vice president of a major political party was all about. Her selection was designed to energize women voters and to win New York. Neither happened.

A vice president may be selected to win a crucial state. Both Bentsen and Ferraro failed to deliver their home states, just as Paul Ryan was not able to win Wisconsin for the Mitt Romney ticket.

A final factor is to add gravitas to the ticket. It was concern over Reagan’s qualifications that, in part, led to his choice of Bush. He had experience in Congress, was the head of the Republican Party, ambassador to the UN and China and Director of the CIA. Strangely, it was concern over Bush’s intellect that led him to pick Dick Cheney as his vice president. Cheney had served in Congress, was White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of Defense and a prominent businessman. He added those experiences to the ticket.

Vice presidents can make or break a campaign or administration. In 2004, John Kerry narrowed his vice presidential options to Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina or Missouri House member Dick Gephardt. Kerry picked Edwards and lived to regret the choice.

Kerry believed that Gephardt would have helped in winning Ohio, whereas Edwards failed to carry North Carolina. Democratic consultant Bob Shrum also believed Gephardt would have performed much better in the vice presidential debate.

In 2008, many believed that John McCain‘s selection of Sarah Palin weakened his chances of victory. Richard Nixon selected little-known Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew as his running mate. Agnew would go on to have the distinction of being the first vice president forced to resign due because he accepted bribes while governor.

Among Clinton’s possible candidates are two Hispanics, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

Perez is well-regarded by liberals, but is virtually unknown to most Americans. He has no foreign policy experience and his only elective office was as a county council member.

On paper, Castro is one of the favorites. He is young, telegenic and a rising star in the party. But his only government experience prior to becoming Labor Secretary was being mayor of San Antonio.

Former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges hopes Clinton will pick a woman as vice president. “It would be formidable and create a huge buzz with female voters,” he said.

The leading females include Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Warren is certainly better known and a favorite of progressives, but Warren refused to endorse Clinton.

Three other possibilities are white males: Sens. Tim Kane of Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Bill Nelson of Florida. Kane comes from a critical swing state, speaks Spanish and was one of the first to endorse Clinton for president in May 2014.

Brown is a favorite of progressives and might help win the critical swing state of Ohio. But Brown is up for re-election and Democrats want to win control of the Senate. That might work against him.

Nelson’s strengths are that he comes from the swing state of Florida and he’s not seen as ambitious. He would be a vice president whose focus would be on the job and not running for president in the future.

For Trump, there are probably more people who don’t want to be his vice president than those who want to be considered. John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez are among the many who have distanced themselves from Trump. Being Trump’s vice president is “like buying a ticket on the Titanic,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham said.

Among his possible vice presidential possibilities are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former presidential candidate Ben Carson. Sessions and Christie were among the first elected Republicans to endorse Trump.

Trump has personally praised three Republican governors: Kasich, Christie and Floirda Gov. Rick Scott. Kasich and Scott come from “must win” states, but a Kasich spokesman said there is “no chance” of him running with Trump. Scott, like Trump, comes from a business background and was one of the first to openly support him.

Trump has surprised everyone during the nomination process. It should not be surprising to see him surprise us once more in choosing a vice president.

***

Darryl Paulson is Emeritus Professor of Government at USF St. Petersburg.

Donald Trump wins in Indiana

Donald Trump wins the Republican presidential primary in Indiana, continuing his surge toward clinching the GOP nomination over rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

Trump took a major step toward sewing up the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday with a victory in Indiana’s primary election, dashing the hopes of rival Cruz and other GOP forces who fear the brash businessman will doom their party in the general election.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were vying for victory in the Democratic primary, though it was too early to call the race as votes were being tallied. Clinton already is 91 percent of the way to her party’s nomination.

While Trump can’t mathematically clinch the GOP nomination with his victory in Indiana, his path now becomes easier and he has more room for error in the remaining primary contests. The real estate mogul will collect at least 45 of Indiana’s 57 delegates, and now needs less than 200 more in upcoming contests.

Cruz, who hasn’t topped Trump in a month, campaigned vigorously in Indiana, securing the endorsement of the state’s governor and announcing businesswoman Carly Fiorina as his running mate. But he appeared to lose momentum in the final days of campaigning and let his frustration with Trump boil over Tuesday, calling the billionaire “amoral” and a “braggadocious, arrogant buffoon.”

Trump responded by saying Cruz “does not have the temperament to be president of the United States.” Earlier Tuesday Trump had rehashed unsubstantiated claims that the Texan’s father, Rafael Cruz, appeared in a 1963 photograph with John F. Kennedy‘s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald — citing a report first published by the National Enquirer.

Cruz has vowed to stay in the race through the final primaries in June, clinging to the possibility that Trump will fall short of the 1,237 delegates he needs and the race will go to a contested convention. But he now could face pressure from donors and other Republicans to at least tone down in attacks on Trump in an attempt to unite the GOP heading into the general election.

Whether a united Republican Party is even possible with Trump at the helm remains highly uncertain. Even before the Indiana results were finalized, some conservative leaders were planning a Wednesday meeting to assess the viability of launching a third party candidacy to compete with Trump in the fall.

Only about half of Indiana’s Republican primary voters said they were excited or even optimistic about any of their remaining candidates becoming president, according to exit polls. Still, most said they probably would support whoever won for the GOP.

Clinton, too, needs to win over Sanders’ enthusiastic supporters. The Vermont senator has cultivated a deeply loyal following in particular among young people, a group Democrats count on in the general election.

Sanders has conceded his strategy hinges on persuading superdelegates to back him over the former secretary of state. Superdelegates are Democratic Party insiders who can support the candidate of their choice, regardless of how their states vote. And they favor Clinton by a nearly 18-1 margin.

Exit polls showed about 7 in 10 Indiana Democrats said they’d be excited or at least optimistic about either a Clinton or Sanders presidency. Most said they would support either in November.

The exit polls were conducted by Edison Research for The Associated Press and television networks.

A fall showdown between Clinton and Trump would pit one of Democrats’ most experienced political figures against a first-time candidate who is deeply divisive within his own party. Cruz and other Republicans have argued that Trump would be roundly defeated in the general election, denying their party the White House for a third straight term.

Republican leaders spent months dismissing Trump as little more than an entertainer who would fade once voting started. Cruz was among those who actively tried to align themselves with Trump and called him “terrific.”

As Trump began to pick up wins, Cruz became more critical of his rival’s policies. Still, his torrent of attacks Tuesday was by far the most pointed and personal of the campaign to date.

Trump has now won seven straight primary contests and has 80 percent of the delegates needed to secure the GOP nomination. With his victory in Indiana, Trump now has at least 1,041 delegates. Cruz has 565 and Ohio Gov. John Kasich has 152.

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Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Ted Cruz faces make-or-break moment to stop Donald Trump

Facing a make-or-break moment for his slumping campaign, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was blitzing through Indiana on Monday in a desperate bid to overtake Donald Trump in the state’s primary and keep his own White House hopes alive.

A victory for Trump in Indiana on Tuesday would be a dispiriting blow for Cruz and other forces trying to stop the front-runner, leaving them with few opportunities to block his path. Trump is the only candidate in the race who can reach the 1,237 delegates needed for the GOP nomination through regular voting, though Cruz is trying to push the race toward a contested convention.

“This whole long, wild ride of an election has all culminated with the entire country with its eyes fixed on the state of Indiana,” Cruz said Sunday at a late night rally. “The people of this great state, I believe the country is depending on you to pull us back from the brink.”

Several hundred people came to see him Monday at Bravo Cafe in Osceola, where he predicted a close finish in the primary and said: “We need every single vote.”

“You’re the perfect man for the job,” a man told him as diners consumed coffee and eggs. “God bless you,” Cruz said, gripping his hand.

Cruz was holding five events across Indiana on Monday. Trump was holding a pair of rallies in the state, though he was already confidently looking past Cruz and setting his sights on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Trump made clear Monday that he would keep up his accusation that Clinton is playing gender politics: “We’re making a list of the many, many times where it’s all about her being a woman.”

“I haven’t started on Hillary yet,” he told CNN, although actually he’s been trashing her record for quite some time.

For her part, Clinton told thousands at an NAACP dinner in Detroit on Sunday that President Barack Obama‘s legacy can’t be allowed to “fall into Donald Trump’s hands” and be consumed by “these voices of hatred.” She cited Trump’s “insidious” part in the birther movement that questioned Obama’s citizenship.

Clinton’s campaign announced Monday that she had raised $26 million in April.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has vowed to stay in the Democratic race, though he acknowledged Sunday that he faces an “uphill climb.” His only path rests on a long-shot strategy of winning over superdelegates, the elected officials, lobbyists and other party insiders who are free to back either candidate.

Trump can’t win enough delegates Tuesday to clinch the Republican nomination. But after his wins in five states last week, Trump no longer needs to win a majority of the remaining delegates in coming races to lock up the GOP nomination.

The importance of Indiana for Cruz became evident even before he and fellow underdog John Kasich formed an alliance of sorts, with the Ohio governor agreeing to pull his advertising money from Indiana in exchange for Cruz doing the same in Oregon and New Mexico.

But that strategy, which appeared to unravel even as it was announced, can’t help either man with the tens of thousands of Indiana voters who had already cast ballots: Early voting began in Indiana three weeks before they hatched their plan.

It also risks alienating those who have yet to vote, said veteran Indiana Republican pollster Christine Matthews. She said she believes many have continued to vote for Kasich in Indianapolis and in the wealthy suburbs north of the city.

“Indiana voters don’t like the idea of a political pact, or being told how to vote,” Matthews said.

Trump went after Cruz on Sunday, suggesting evangelical conservatives have “fallen out of love with him” and mocked his decision to announce former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as his running mate.

“They’re like hanging by their fingertips,” he said, mimicking Cruz and Kasich: “Don’t let me fall! Don’t let me fall!”

Trump let on that he’s eager to move on to a likely general election race against Clinton.

He said the end game of the primary battle with Cruz is “wasting time” that he could be spending raising money for Republicans running for the Senate.

“It would be nice to have the Republican Party come together,” Trump told supporters in Fort Wayne. “With that being said, I think I’ll win anyway.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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