We still don't know who Mitt Romney is going to choose to be his running mate yet, but the one thing we can be pretty sure of is his choice won't inspire the same kind of fundraising spike that Sarah Palin brought the McCain campaign. Bobby Jindal could be the exception, though.
Politico's Lucy McCalmont and Robin Bravender speculate who out of all of Romney's rumored potential Vice President picks would bring him the most help on the campaign trail. As they note, Sarah Palin brought the McCain campaign $7 million in the first 24 hours after being announced. That is a lot of money! Using "data compiled by the Federal Election Commission, the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics," McCalmont and Bravender guessed who would bring in Palin-like money and who would cause merely a blip on the campaign's juggernaut fundraising operation. The two people they deduced wouldn't bring in big donations were Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman, two out of the three remaining names we know are on Romney's shortlist.
Tuesday morning a report from Reuters' Steve Holland said that Romney had his Veep list down to Pawlenty, Portman, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. A New York Times report on Monday said the list was down to Pawlenty and Portman. And yet Pawlenty and Portman get labeled as "Safe bets," they're choices that "don’t have the big-dollar supporters or the capacity to ignite the base as some of the other veep contenders," but have enough of a nationally-known face to appear at fundraisers Romney can't get to and not self-destruct. McCalmont and Bravender point to Portman's average $16 million fundraising haul from his election campaign, and Pawlenty's weak $6 million he raised for his presidential run.
The two haven't raised as much as the potential "Big-Dollar Raisers" like Chris Christie or Bob McDonnell. Christie raised $5 million for the Romney campaign in a single night at a New York City fundraiser.
We can easily chalk this up to the "boring white guy" label attached to Portman, and technically to Portman too. No one gets excited to open their wallets for a boring white guy. Bobby Jindal isn't a boring white guy, though. He's Indian-American. Romney's promised there'd be "no more Palins" in this election, but Jindal isn't a Palin either. Jindal's a future GOP Presidential hopeful, so there's a certain amount of responsibility to make him look fiscally reliable for his future considerations. He has a weak fundraising history. Jindal, who Politico didn't look at, raised $15 million for his reelection campaign, roughly the same amount Rob Portman raised for his. In the Reuters report, Merle Black, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said Jindal had the best chance to excite the base, which usually means they can bring in flurries of small donations. "He has the potential to excite conservatives more I think than any of these other candidates," he said. "If Romney were to do that, that would be an indication he's going for broke, because a safe choice would be Portman or Pawlenty." Safe bets don't make money. Exciting ones do. Jindal could be the guy.
(Photo of Jindal via the Associated Press)