by InvestorPlace Staff | March 22, 2012 6:44 pm
With a 300 delegate lead, a decisive victory in Illinois, and Jeb Bush’s endorsement, Mitt Romney seems to be sitting firmly in the driver’s seat for the Republican party presidential nomination.
That doesn’t meant the gaffe-prone candidate couldn’t use more help. That, of course, is where endorsements come in. While they aren’t always effective, they do hold some power, or else politicians wouldn’t court them.
So who might be next to lend their support to Romney?
Yes, the same Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who is the son of current GOP candidate Ron Paul. The thinking here is that if Ron Paul can be induced to leave the GOP race — by no means a guarantee — father and son might work out a deal with Romney to get Ron Paul’s Tea Party-heavy base to throw their weight behind Romney. Of course, there’s no guarantee the Tea Party would go along with this move.
House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan, R-Wisc., has received support from Romney for his latest budget proposal. It’s easy to imagine Ryan returning the favor by endorsing Romney. Especially since Romney’s main competition, Rick Santorum, criticized Ryan’s budget.
Former Mississippi Gov. Barbour lent a hand to Romney while the former Massachusetts Gov. was trying to win the Southern vote in Alabama and Mississippi, but it didn’t help Romney avoid finishing third in both states. Barbour is an important establishment figure, but Santorum and Gingrich have been trying to hammer Romney for establishment ties, and Barbour also has his controversial 11th hour pardons as an albatross around his neck. This may not be an endorsement Romney wants.
Though the Indiana Gov. insists his endorsement doesn’t matter, the fact remains that the Indiana primary is coming up May 8, and that Obama won the state in 2008. Romney needs to get this one back in the Republican column in order to improve his odds in November, and Daniels could help him do that.
Sen. Rubio, R-Fla., has been tossed out previously as a potential vice presidential candidate. So far, he’s been coy about endorsing anyone, and denied interest in a VP nod, but he could easily play kingmaker to Romney alongside Jeb Bush, or spoiler if he went with Santorum or Newt Gingrich. Given the fact he criticized Gingrich for an ad that labeled Romney as “anti-immigrant”, Rubio seems more likely to go with Romney. This would help Romney immensely with Latino voters.
Because anything is possible with her.
For more information, and a list of politicians unlikely to endorse Romney, check out this Washington Post article.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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