by Brendan Monaghan
Hello again, Tournament fans! After two weeks of voting, we’ve reached the Sweet 16 in the contest to determine who you the readers believe should be Mitt Romney’s running mate in November. This time, there were many surprises as a 1- a 2- and a 3-seed all went down in Round 2. Here are your matchups for the Regional Semifinals along with quick explanations as to what happened in the previous round. After all, they’re just a bunch of guys (and one girl) in suits if you don’t have a program. Finally, as a reminder of Mitt Romney’s rejection of the Chicago-style politics of the current administration, each computer can only vote once.
To vote in round #3 of the Oregon Catalyst GOP Veepstakes, click here.
Two Tea Party Senators square off in the South Region’s first semifinal. Florida freshman Marco Rubio got his second consecutive blowout win over Governor-turned-radio host Mike Huckabee. He was denied a Sunshine State showdown with Congressman Allen West, however, by way of South Carolina’s “Senator Tea Party,” Jim DeMint.
Both favorites advanced to meet in the other Southern semifinal. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina are the first and second Indian-American governors in American history, respectively. Veteran Jindal is more experienced and has better roots in the conservative movement, but freshman Haley has tremendous upside potential and recently swatted away an ethics scandal from her new political enemies.
New Jersey’s Chris Christie won the latest leg of the Hudson River Rivalry thanks to an easy triumph over New York’s Rudy Giuliani. The next installment may come as soon as next week, should the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals on Saturday night and advance to play the Devils in the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals. Christie’s opponent will be Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who triumphed over Puerto Rico’s longshot Luis Fortuno.
A pair of major upsets produced this unlikely Sweet 16 pairing. Seemingly safest of safe picks, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, narrowly lost to former UN Ambassador and Fox News pundit John Bolton. Meanwhile, second-seeded Senator Kelly Ayotte- thought by some to be a potential game-changer pick- lost to fellow freshman Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Mason and Dixon couldn’t have drawn up a better border battle!
Nobody in Round 2 got more votes than House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He remains a strong favorite to win the region- but of course that’s up to you! His alternative is Senator John Thune of South Dakota, beating out Fox News Red Eye regular Thaddeus McCotter (who also doubles as a Congressman from Michigan in his spare time).
Speaking of favorites, you’ll see two more of them in this matchup. “My Man” Mitch Daniels, the outgoing Governor of Indiana, coasted in to the Sweet 16, probably doing so on his motorcycle. Meanwhile, it was Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty figuratively taking home Floyd of Rosedale and beating Iowa’s Steve King.
Call it a Colbert Bump? Outgoing Arizona Senator Jon Kyl gained unintentional popularity during the government shutdown crisis last year. Perhaps that was enough to get by Vancouver Congresswoman Jaimie Herrerra-Butler. He’ll be joined in the Sweet 16 by California’s Darrell Issa, Chair of the Oversight Committee. He advanced by knocking off the first #1 seed in the field, Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico.
Rounding out a truly wild West, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is the last remaining woman in the Tournament and blasted her way in to the regional semis. She remains very popular among conservatives and could be used by Romney to shore up his right flank. You know, in case President Obama can’t do enough himself. Her opponent will be Congressman Greg Walden, who inexplicably still performs very well among Catalyst readers.
To follow along with the Round #3 voting, click here.
Brendan is a graduate student at Portland State University, where he hosts the KPSU “Right Jab” radio program, and a regular contributor at Oregon Catalyst. Brendan is studying political science, and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007, with a degree in political science.