US Elections 2016

Confident Clinton begins search for running mate

Mrs Clinton at a conversation with residents in Connecticut on Saturday. She is likely to make her pick for a partner soon after the Republican ticket is known.
Mrs Clinton at a conversation with residents in Connecticut on Saturday. She is likely to make her pick for a partner soon after the Republican ticket is known.PHOTO: REUTERS

She wants 'attack dog' against Republicans and is open to possibility of all-female ticket

NEW YORK • Mrs Hillary Clinton's advisers and allies have begun extensive discussions about who should be her running mate, seeking to compile a list of 15 to 20 potential picks for her team to start vetting by late spring.

Her team will grapple with complicated questions like whether the United States is ready for an allfemale ticket, and whether her choice for vice-president would be able to handle working in a White House in which former president Bill Clinton wields significant influence on policy.

Mrs Clinton is confident enough of victory that she has described a vision of a running mate and objectives for the search, according to campaign advisers and more than a dozen Democrats close to the campaign or the Clintons.

 

She does not have a front runner in mind, they said, but she is intrigued by several contenders and scenarios.

Among the names under discussion by Mrs Clinton, Mr Bill Clinton and campaign advisers: Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, former governors of the key state of Virginia; Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who represents both a more liberal wing of the party and a swing state; former governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, a prominent African-American Democrat; and Mr Thomas Perez, President Barack Obama's labour secretary and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer.

Mrs Clinton has offered general guidance as her team begins the search: She cares less about ideological and personal compatibility than about picking a winner, someone who can dominate the vice-presidential debate and convince Americans that Mrs Clinton is their best choice.

But Mrs Clinton is also open to a woman, campaign advisers said. One obvious possibility is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is hugely popular among progressive Democrats, though she has not been helpful to Mrs Clinton's campaign, declining to endorse the former secretary of state.

Mrs Clinton has offered general guidance as her team begins the search: She cares less about ideological and personal compatibility than about picking a winner, someone who can dominate the vice-presidential debate and convince Americans that Mrs Clinton is their best choice.

She also wants a partner who is unquestionably qualified for the vice-presidency and would help create the strongest contrast with the Republican ticket, which could be dogged by questions about Mr Donald Trump's fitness for the presidency or Senator Ted Cruz's unbending conservatism, according to those interviewed. And she wants someone who could be an effective attack dog against either candidate.

Despite the passions stirred during the primary, Mrs Clinton does not feel pressure to enthral the supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, since she thinks most of them would ultimately vote for her, an assertion backed up by polling.

The most unpredictable issue for the search, at least at this early stage, is the turmoil in the Republican race.

Mrs Clinton is likely to make her pick soon after the Republican ticket is known, according to Democrats close to the campaign, and her political calculations in choosing a running mate may shift depending on whether the opposing nominee is Mr Trump, Mr Cruz or someone unexpected, and who the Republican No. 2 is.

If Governor John Kasich of Ohio or Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Cuban-American, ends up on the Republican ticket, Mrs Clinton might be more inclined to pick Mr Brown (to help her in Ohio) or Mr Perez (to help excite Hispanic voters).

NEW YORK TIMES

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2016, with the headline 'Confident Clinton begins search for running mate'. Print Edition | Subscribe