The forthcoming presidential race between incumbent President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will be very close in terms of both the popular and electoral vote. There is more volatility in the electorate than at any time in recent memory. The polls show that the voters see Romney as more likely to improve the economy, while Obama is viewed as the more likable candidate. Doubtless, the popular vote lead will shift often between now and Election Day, November 6, 2012.
It is the electoral vote that determines the winner. The candidate who wins 270 or more electoral votes is elected President. I presently project Mitt Romney as the likely winner of 252 electoral votes, while Barack Obama garners 248. There are two states up for grabs: Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Ohio (18 electoral votes). If Romney wins either Pennsylvania or Ohio, he will be elected as the 45th President of the United States. If he loses both states, Obama wins reelection.
The basis of my projection is as follows:
I predict that Mitt Romney will carry without difficulty all of the states that John McCain won in 2008, for a total of 180 electoral votes. These states are as follows:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming.
I also predict that Mitt Romney will win the following five states that Barack Obama won in 2008, for an additional 72 electoral votes:
Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia.
This brings Romney’s total to 252 electoral votes.
Barack Obama will win the following states, all of which he won in 2008, for a total of 248 electoral votes:
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin.
That leaves Ohio and Pennsylvania. While Obama currently leads in both states, it is highly possible for Romney to win either or both.
The absolute necessity of Romney carrying either Ohio or Pennsylvania will result in New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie and Ohio’s U.S. Senator Rob Portman being the finalists on the Republican nominee’s short list for Vice Presidential running mate. Both Christie and Portman have unique assets that make each a highly valuable running mate.
Romney’s key to victory in Pennsylvania is his ability to win the votes of Reagan Democrats. There is no political figure in America with more appeal to Reagan Democrats than Chris Christie. Also, Christie has more ability than any other prospective Romney running mate of rallying the Republican base and driving up GOP turnout in November.
Ron Portman’s powerful electoral appeal in his home state of Ohio has been demonstrated in past elections for both the U.S. Senate and House o
f Representatives. In his former capacities in the administration of former President George W. Bush as U.S. Special Trade Representative and Office of Management and Budget Director, Portman gained an encyclopedic knowledge of the government of the United States. This knowledge would enable Rob to trounce the bumbling Vice President Joe Biden in any debate, further enhancing Romney’s chances of victory.
I am not an intimate of Chris Christie, and I have never had any conversation with him about the Vice Presidency. Yet I suspect that there may be a logistical factor that would make him, or any other first term New Jersey governor for that matter, reluctant to accept a Vice Presidential nomination.
If a Romney-Christie ticket prevails in November, then all is well with Chris Christie. If a Romney-Christie ticket loses, however, then Chris Christie has to return to New Jersey virtually the next day after the election and begin his campaign for reelection as New Jersey’s governor.
Christie is New Jersey’s most popular governor since Tom Kean, and he is a solid favorite for reelection. He is a superbly effective campaigner; yet the question is whether he would want to entertain the prospect of a continuous fourteen month campaign first for a Romney-Christie ticket and then for reelection as New Jersey Governor should Obama be reelected. This is a major logistical burden on anybody, even on an individual with the high energy level and zest for campaigning that Chris Christie has demonstrated in the past.
If Christie were to decline the Vice Presidential nomination and Romney were to win the Presidential race, it is highly likely that Romney would offer Christie the position of Attorney General. If Christie accepted, he would certainly remain a top tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020.
In any event, Chris Christie is a man with many good future options at this point. Both Chris Christie and Rob Portman are excellent options for Mitt Romney as he decides on a running mate in Campaign 2012.
Alan J. Steinberg served as Regional Administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Region 2 EPA consists of the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight federally recognized Indian nations. Under former New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman, he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. He currently serves on the political science faculty of Monmouth University.