HARRISBURG, Pa.—Veteran pollster and Fox News analyst Frank Luntz said if Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee, he should select one of four possible running mates from electoral vote-rich states that Barack Obama carried in ’08.
Luntz, who was the banquet speaker at the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, spoke to HUMAN EVENTS before he addressed the overflow crowd of 800-plus here at the Radisson Hotel. Asked who he thought Romney’s vice presidential choice would be if he emerges triumphant in the nomination process, Luntz told us “none of us can say what he will do, of course, but remember Romney’s a numbers guy and it would only be natural for him to turn to someone from a large state with many electoral votes and that can be turned around from Obama.”
The pollster specifically cited four candidates who met this criterion: Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida (29 electoral votes) and Rob Portman of Ohio (18 electoral votes), Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin (10) and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia (13). The states of all four of Luntz’s prospects went for Obama over John McCain in ’08.
“Each are popular enough in their home states to turn the electoral votes that went Democratic in ’08 to Republican in ’12,” said Luntz, “and each has the potential to add other states to the Republican column.”
Conspicuous by his absence from Luntz’s list was Pennsylvania’s freshman Sen. Pat Toomey, who received a hero’s welcome when he addressed the PLC earlier Friday and delivered a moving tribute to economic freedom. Toomey, Luntz feels, “is not yet at a point where he can be counted on to bring Pennsylvania over and guarantee its 20 electoral votes for the Republican column.”
As for another subject of press speculation as a vice presidential pick, Luntz said he did not believe New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez would be chosen because “New Mexico only brings five electoral votes to the table.”
Luntz again emphasized that no one knows what Romney will do if he’s the nominee, but that his four choices “all made sense in terms of what they bring to the table in terms of electoral votes. And remember — Romney’s a numbers guy. This is the way he will think.”