Senator Rob Portman of Ohio (R-Ohio) is said to be on Romney’s short-list for the VP nod, but would Portman be of any value to former Governor Mitt Romney?
By now we’re all familiar with Portman’s impressive credentials. He’s spent time in the House as well as the Senate, was head of the Office of Management and Budget, and served as U.S. Trade Representative a cabinet-level position. This unique combination of experiences makes him a man that Ohio voters (some of the most fickle in the nation) feel they can trust when it comes to matters of the economy and the budget — two of Romney’s main areas of emphasis during his campaign.
While Portman would do little to address the demographic problems faced by Republicans each election cycle –– since he is old and white –– he brings other things to the table, which may prove more valuable in the long run. Portman is a roll-up-your sleeves, let’s have a down-home lunch kind of guy, making him a man who will (and does) resonate with Mid-Western and Southern voters. Speaking at a recent campaign event in Ashland, Ohio, Portman interacted with businessmen, farmers, college students, and got along well with each group. His ability to navigate these different demographics in a personable manner will be of great importance to Romney, who frequently comes across as awkward and out-of-touch.
Moreover, we can’t lose sight of the elephant in the room: Portman is from Ohio, and he recently won a huge majority in his Senate race here. Some commentators have chocked that up to a terrible democratic opponent and pro-Republican election year, but there’s more to it than that. Portman is a man that Ohioans trust because he’s personable and because of his experiences in Congress, the OMB, and abroad. He’s experienced in economic matters without reeking of big business and that’s certainly not something Romney can say.
In the end, Portman is another old, boring, white guy from Ohio. But, he’s also a proven leader whose experience aligns quite well with the issues Romney cares most about — the economy, job creation, energy resources. Plus, we all know how important winning Ohio’s electoral votes are, so some good old-fashioned Ohio loyalty certainly can’t hurt Romney.