Mitt Romney will win the nomination. Rick Santorum’s victory in Louisiana only delayed the inevitable. Santorum gained just 5 delegates in Louisiana on Romney, who is still 295 delegates ahead. Romney has won 55% of the delegates available so far, and needs just 45% of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination. Newt Gingrich is out of money and looks increasingly like a vanity candidate. With Romney running well ahead in the upcoming state of Wisconsin, there’s little reason to believe anyone wil be able to catch him.
With the excitement out of the race, the question becomes who Romney will choose as his running mate. The political futures market Intrade considers Florida senator Marco Rubio the heavy favorite, giving him a 33% chance of getting the nod. Speculation that Rubio would be the pick increased yesterday when he announced that he was endorsing Romney. Rubio is perhaps not coincidentally releasing an autobiography in June, just as the primaries are wrapping up. Rubio has said he won’t run, but former Florida governor Jeb Bush—himself a subject of some vice presidential speculation—says he thinks Rubio would be the best choice. As the son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio—who has announced he is working on a new version of the DREAM Act—might help win back Latino voters alienated by the Republican position on immigration.
If Rubio isn’t the pick, speculators are betting it will be one of three governors: either New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, or New Mexico governor Susana Martinez. Both Wisconsin congressman and Republican budget architect Paul Ryan and Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Ron Paul’s son Rand Paul have also been the subjects of a fair amount of speculation. And traders give Romney a 3% chance of trying to shore up his support among conservatives by picking Santorum as his running mate.
Political Futures Markets
Chance President Obama will win reelection: 60.0% (Intrade)
Chance Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination: 93.5% (Intrade)
Chance that Republicans will win control of the Senate: 62.0% (Intrade)
Chance that Republicans will maintain control of the House: 68.7% (Intrade)
President Obama’s approval rating: 47.4% (Pollster)
Mitt Romney’s favorable rating: 35.7% (Pollster)
Republican advantage on a generic congressional ballot: 0.7% (Real Clear Politics)
“I think [Obama’s aides’] assessment is that Romney is much less a threat to them as events are a threat to them, and I agree with that. Romney cannot beat Obama, only events can beat Obama.”—James Carville
UP NEXT: the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Wisconsin primaries on Tuesday, April 3
Marco Rubio image from Gage Skidmore