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Mitch Perry Report for 1.6.15 – Are Nikki Haley and Julian Castro top picks for VP?

Since we don’t know who the presidential nominees are yet, it’s insanely premature to speculate on who might be the vice-presidential candidates, right?

Of course not.

Actually, the reason I’m even thinking of this today is that my original story idea for this column is being banked for a future story. But I thought about VP nominees this morning after the Republican National Committee announced that Nikki Haley will be given their response to President Barack Obama‘s State of the Union address next week.

This will only amp up the rumors that Haley is on the top of the list of GOP VP nominees in 2016.

House Speaker Paul Ryan gave the address a year before he was picked as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate in 2012. Marco Rubio, of course, infamously delivered the 2013 response to Obama, where his surge for a bottle of water to quench his thirst is remarkably still being discussed nearly three years later.

Haley is the daughter of Indian immigrants, and her political stature has only grown since last summer, when she was able to adroitly negotiate the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds after the racist shooting of nine black parishioners at an AME Church in Charleston.

And the Democrats? Well, if there’s another name other than Julian Castro being floated out there, could you please let me know who that is?

The 41-year-old Castro is currently HUD Secretary for the Obama administration, and was the former mayor of San Antonio. He’s the son of Mexican immigrants.

Obviously, a common denominator here is that both Haley and Castro aren’t white, which is not insignificant. While Barack Obama is our first black president, we’ve never had a minority serving as vice president in this country.

And let’s face it — even if the GOP nominee is not one Donald Trump, the party is going to have some cleanup in terms of reaching out to the nonwhite general election electorate come November.

In other news …

A progressive website has collected more than 23,000 signatures calling for the Democratic National Committee to tell Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz that “you’re fired.”

• • •

Rick Kriseman made the drive up to Tampa on Tuesday to brief Bob Buckhorn on a proposed pilot project that would bring a ferry service linking Tampa and St. Pete for seven months beginning this October.

• • •

Democratic campaign strategist Mitch Kates left his mark on Tampa Bay politics by winning three big races in a row from 2006-2010. He then went on to help foreign leaders in Georgia and Kosovo win election bids. Now he’s in Pennsylvania as the political director the state Democratic Party.

• • •

The Hillsborough County MPO learned a little more about this “premium transit” study that FDOT is willing to pay up to $1 million for. However, MPO Chairman (and former state legislator) Les Miller was not pleased that a fellow board member was talking to the Legislature about the project without a specific dollar figure attached.

• • •

The Hillsborough County Democratic Party has found a real live human being in Andrew Warren to challenge State Attorney Mark Ober this November.

• • •

And top advisers to Bernie Sanders told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that they’re more concerned with racking up delegate counts than actually winning primaries. Hmm.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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