Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Radioactive: Op-Ed on Gillibrand's VP Options

Looking at Gillibrand's options for running mate

(ANN) - Now that primary season has been wrapped up and a nominee decided, we are finally getting into the swing of the general election. An important first step in that season is something that can make or break a candidate's chances in a general election: their VP choice. Gillibrand has a well rounded set of credentials herself, serving as representative for a rural district in New York for four years before being nominated to the Senate to fill the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of State. Her term as Vice President just helps to top it all off, as well as her excellent record with the LGBT community and women. Below are some of the most frequently discussed options that could become her running mate:

Secretary of H & UD John Hickenlooper (D-CO): One of the first choices that pops into most people's head is Gillibrand's sole viable competitor in the primary season, Hickenlooper. He has gained significant experience, first as the Mayor of Denver, then moving up to the position of Governor in 2010. He helped to make some of the strongest gun control laws in the US, and oversaw one of the first attempts to legalize marijuana in the US, all in a battleground state. This gives him significant advantage over many other politicians, except for the fact that adding a strong liberal to a already strong liberal ticket doesn't help expand her voter base.

Governor Julian Castro (D-TX): Castro is another big name when considering VP picks. He was able to grasp governorship after fighting a hard primary challenge in fairly solid red state after the retirement of longtime Republican governor Rick Perry. He has been in the upper echelons of speculation since his speech at the DNC in 2012, and that has only increased with his underdogs victory. He adds significant diversity to the ticket, and attracts Hispanic voters who may be more inclined to Rubio or Brown. He also comes with the possibility of flipping Texas, which would be a huge prize Democrats have been fighting for.

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO): It is looking like Colorado makes good VP credentials, seeing as we have two politicians from there on the list. Bennet has had a fairly long career in the Senate, but has only come out onto the national scene after some passionate speeches surrounding the battle over the minimum wage. He has made his stance as one of the more moderate members of the Democratic Party known, frequently butting heads with Senators like Warren and Baldwin. His strong voice for cooperation could attract a lot of moderates who have left the more liberal Gillibrand for Huntsman back to the ticket, and could also put Colorado solidly in her column due to his popularity in the state, which could be the deciding factor on election night.

Governor Heath Shuler (D-NC): Somewhat of a dark horse, Governor Shuler has made a name for himself by defeating Republican McCrory for the governorship in North Carolina in 2016 and significantly turning around the state. North Carolina was under the strangle hold of the Tea Party run state GOP since the 2010 wave, and Governor Shuler was able to bring Democrats back in control of the state. Shuler is definitely one of the most conservative Democrats, and would attract a lot of moderates to the ticket that might otherwise go towards Huntsman. Just because of his turn around of the state, North Carolina was already polling favorably towards Gillibrand, and he could reinforce this along with possibly Georgia and Florida, which a state that has decided elections on multiple occasions.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ): Sinema has been breaking glass ceilings since she was elected to the House. She was elected as a bisexual, non-religious woman in a state that was still electing Tea Partyists in the north and to the state senate in Phoenix. It would be historic, and would likely bring Arizona closer to Gillibrand, but many Democrats are still unhappy with her because of her recent publicly expressed desires to join the Green Party.

Senator Allison Grimes (D-KY): Senator Grimes made significant waves in 2014 by ousting Mitch McConnel, and she is widely regarded as a rising star in the Democratic Party. However, she is still fairly young and many people still think that she should be given time to grow before she is thrown such a high position.

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