OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Despite the fact that the Republican presidential primary isn’t over, former President Donald Trump is the clear front-runner. As a result, speculation about his vice presidential nominee is a natural next step.
After she heartily endorsed him earlier this month, Trump indicated his strong affinity for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
“I think she’s fantastic,” Trump said in an interview. “She’s been a great governor. She gave me a very full-throated endorsement, a beautiful endorsement. It’s been a very good state for me, and certainly, she would be one of the people I would consider for something else, maybe. We have a lot of great people in the Republican Party.”
Trump teased that he liked “the concept” of selecting a woman as his running mate, but that he’s also looking for “the right person.”
“You always do a little bit, but I don’t think it’s time,” Trump said, per the Washington Examiner. “I want to win, and, you know, it’s very interesting about running mates, when you get down to a vice president, they said, ‘Nobody has ever made that kind of a difference.’ It’s still about the person that’s going to be president.”
TRUMP: “She’s been a great governor. She gave me a very full-throated endorsement, a beautiful endorsement actually.” https://t.co/zwWlaOHn1n
— Sean Hannity 🇺🇸 (@seanhannity) September 18, 2023
A recent report from Roll Call speculated that Trump’s “VP list” is likely down to these five Republicans, with Noem’s name likely being near the top:
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
Arizona Republican Kari Lake
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik
Scott, an African-American senator from South Carolina, is currently trying to defeat Trump in the primary, but has not attacked the 45th president much at all.
Scott, a former member of the state House, was elected to the United States House in 2010 and was appointed to the Senate in 2013, succeeding Republican Jim DeMint. Even though Trump does not require assistance in bolstering his evangelical base, Scott speaks openly about his faith and is a popular speaker on the Republican circuit.
“Nikki Haley: Of anyone on the list, the former South Carolina governor has been the most critical of Trump. But that doesn’t mean Trump won’t tap her to be his running mate. He chose her to be his ambassador to the United Nations (even if it was to help supporter Henry McMaster become governor), and she was the rare appointee to leave his administration unscathed. Haley would bring multiple layers of diversity to the ticket (potentially setting up a historic vice presidential debate between two Indian American women) and foreign policy experience,” Roll Call noted in its report.
“Elise Stefanik: The New York congresswoman from upstate New York has undergone a political transformation from a mainstream Republican who worked in the George W. Bush administration and on campaigns for Tim Pawlenty and Paul Ryan before getting elected to House leadership and morphing into a prominent Trump apologist. The loyalty of the House Republican Conference chair can’t be lost on the former president,” the outlet noted.
Not only have Trump’s polling numbers rocketed since he was hit with four indictments in New York, Washington, D.C., Fulton County, Ga., and southern Florida, but he is also moving past Biden in critical swing states, according to a new survey.
“The states that had the narrowest margin of victory for either candidate last cycle were Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, with Biden winning all but North Carolina. Across those key swing states, Trump is ahead of Biden 41% to 35%, and 24% of voters remain undecided, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll,” The Daily Caller reported.
“Among independent voters, the former president also held a slight advantage over Biden, according to the poll. Trump received 32% support among independents compared to Biden’s 30%, and 38% was undecided. Uncertain voters favored Biden over Trump at 49% to 38%,” The DC noted, citing the survey.
In a hypothetical head-to-head contest for the 2024 election, Biden and Trump are deadlocked at 39%, as per the survey. Many voters cited concerns about the president’s age, along with worries about the economy and crime, as significant factors influencing their choice.
The survey “found that 48% of respondents in swing states would probably or vote for Trump, compared to just 41% for Biden. Though Biden is narrowly favored overall by likely voters, with 43% favoring him compared to 42% for Trump, the Republican front-runner could win 270 Electoral College votes by seizing the swing states,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Trump has been outpolling Biden in recent months. In May, for instance, an ABC/Washington Post survey showed him with a whopping 7-point lead over Biden, Mediaite reported.