As the Romney campaign works on vetting possible Vice-Presidential nominees, there’s a case for putting a Paul on the ticket – Ron Paul or his son, Senator Rand Paul. Others have suggested him, such as the Kansas State Collegian.
Experts seem to think the VP candidate doesn’t make much difference. See this article in Yeshiva University News, for example. Marco Rubio might get 2 points in Florida, or Rob Portman 2 points in Ohio.
Consider the impact of choosing a Paul on key swing states. Ron Paul got 23% of the primary vote in New Hampshire, for example, and 40% in Virginia. Paul attracts independent voters.
Here are the Paul vote shares from swing states:
Supporters of other candidates, like Gingrich, Santorum or Pawlenty, will vote for Romney on the “anyone but Obama” attitude. Similarly, fans of Marco Rubio and Rob Portman are going to vote for Romney regardless. They don’t add many votes in the general election.
But Ron Paul supporters are different. Many see little difference between Romney and Obama. Putting a Paul on the ticket will swing a lot of votes from people who would otherwise write in Ron Paul, vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson, or just not bother voting.
From a practical standpoint, choosing Rand Paul would probably make more sense than Ron Paul. The elder Paul would have a tendency to upstage Romney (similar to how Lloyd Bentsen was more impressive than Dukakis), and is less likely to stick to the campaign’s message. Also, Ron Paul is not well liked by many in the Jewish community, a key constituency in Florida. His recent vote against HR 4133 contributes to that perception. Rand Paul is a safer choice as he did not vote against the companion bill in the Senate (there was no roll-call vote). Obama is vulnerable among Jewish voters.
Putting a Paul on the ticket would send a message to the Ron Paul community – that Mitt Romney is serious about cutting spending, respecting individual liberty, auditing the Fed, following the Constitution, and perhaps most of all, recognizing and appreciating the Ron Paul movement, which is bringing young people into the GOP. Getting Rand Paul in as the VP nominee places him well as a potential candidate for President in 2016 or 2020. That gets the Paul movement closer than it’s ever been to the presidency.
For the Romney camp, the numbers above show that putting a Paul on the ticket would pick up significant votes in key swing states, especially Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia.