Gingrich, Christie lead Trump list of
vice presidential options
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[July 02, 2016]
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie top Donald
Trump's short list to be his vice presidential running mate, sources
said, but the candidate is casting a wide net that also includes several
U.S. senators and other governors.
With less than three weeks to go until his formal nomination at
the Republican National Convention as the party's candidate in the
Nov. 8 election, Trump's search for a No. 2 has intensified. The
wealthy businessman, a political neophyte, has said he wants a
political veteran to help him navigate the power corridors of
Washington.Gingrich and Christie, both loyal to Trump at a time when
many Republican colleagues want nothing to do with him, would meet
his requirement for experience - but would come with minuses as well
Other names to watch include U.S. Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee,
Joni Ernst of Iowa and Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Governors Mike
Pence of Indiana and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Republicans close to
the campaign said this week.
Trump has set up a meeting with Pence this weekend, a spokesman for
the governor said on Friday. The New Yorker has also met with Corker
“Mr. Trump is meeting with a number of Republican leaders in the
run-up to the convention in Cleveland, and he has a good
relationship with Gov. Pence," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in
an email response to a question from Reuters.
An experienced running mate also could help with fundraising.
Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, raised more
than $40 million for her campaign in June and about $28 million for
her party. Trump, who largely self-funded his primary run, has not
yet released June fundraising numbers.
Trump is expected to name his running mate close to the July 18-21
RUNNING MATE PROSPECTS
Gingrich, who was speaker of the House of Representatives in the
1990s and ran for president in 2012, is a popular conservative
writer and speaker, and has been an important behind-the-scenes
voice in urging Trump to adopt a more presidential demeanor.
But because Trump is 70 and Gingrich is 73, they could face
difficulty appealing to a younger generation.
Christie quickly endorsed Trump after quitting the race early this
year. A source said the 53-year-old governor has emerged as a key
adviser to Trump and his campaign team. A source said Christie was
instrumental in coaxing Trump to be less confrontational with a
Mexican-American federal judge overseeing a fraud case involving
One clue to Christie's rising importance came earlier this week when
some campaign supporters held a conference call to discuss strategy
and talking points for media appearances.
A source said that during the call Christie's name was raised as
someone who might comment on former President Bill Clinton's meeting
earlier this week with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. As a former
federal prosecutor, Christie would be a credible voice.
Monday night's private meeting of Clinton and Lynch, the top U.S.
law enforcement officer, has been criticized because Hillary Clinton
is under federal investigation for using a private email server when
she was Democratic President Barack Obama's secretary of state.
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candidate Donald Trump and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appear
together at a fundraising event in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, U.S.,
Many 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
The source said campaign associates made clear Christie was not to
be used for this purpose.
"They're saving him for the general election," the source said.
"They don't want to overexpose him."
Still, many Republicans are waiting to see whether Christie is named
as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2014 case involving charges
that lanes on the George Washington Bridge were closed in New Jersey
for political reasons.
Corker, 63, offers Trump deep foreign policy experience as chairman
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and, like Trump, believes
the Republican Party needs shaking up. His stock may have gone down,
however, because he has not hesitated to criticize the candidate at
Ernst, a first-term senator and military veteran, could help improve
Trump's standing with women. She tacitly supported rival Marco Rubio
during the Republican nominating campaign, though she has promised
to support the party's nominee.
Ernst, who turned 46 on Friday, said earlier this month that the
Trump campaign had not contacted her.
The same goes for Oklahoma's Fallin, who was among several
Republican governors who met jointly with Trump in June.
"It's an honor to be mentioned for the office of vice president. I
have not had any conversation with Mr. Trump about the vice
presidency," Fallin, 61, said in a statement.
Some Republicans could be considered even if they have not had
recent contact with the campaign. Alice Stewart, a former
spokeswoman for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's presidential campaign, said
the Texan's running mate, Carly Fiorina, was only told late in the
vetting that she might be picked.
Trump's vetting is being conducted by Washington lawyer A.B.
Culvahouse, a longtime fixture in national Republican politics.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, additional reporting by Emily
Stephenson and Susan Heavey; Editing by Caren Bohan and Leslie
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