As speculation over Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick mounts, the presumptive GOP nominee’s campaign on Tuesday named top aides for the running mate.
Randy Bumps of Minot, Maine, will be director of operations and Kevin Sheridan will serve as director of communications. Both are longtime Republican operatives.
Now Romney just needs to name his No. 2. The candidate has kept the veep search closely guarded; names being floated include Rob Portman , Tim Pawlenty, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and John Thune.
Running mates are typically named shortly before the party nominating convention, but some believe Romney is likely to name his sooner, perhaps even as early as this week, to deflect attention from ongoing Democratic attacks over his tenure as chief of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, or his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns.
But any announcement this week would be immediately stepped on by Romney’s overseas trip next week, when he will attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, speak in Israel and raise money. Many suspect Romney is likely to make an announcement upon his return.
Vice presidential speculation is always a fun parlor game for political professionals and casual observers alike, but this year’s is constantly measured against the surprise — some would argue disastrous surprise — 2008 GOP pick of Sarah Palin. Romney is expected to choose someone far more conventional; he has said his top criterion is preparedness to be president.
Palin’s friction-filled relationship with some of 2008 nominee John McCain’s aides — some of whom went on to suggest the former Alaska governor was mentally unstable — shows the importance of building a loyal band around the No. 2.
Bumps, a former state representative in Maine, previously worked as political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and as regional political director for the Republican National Committee. He is a former three-term Maine legislator and a former staffer for U.S. Sens. William S. Cohen and Susan M. Collins. Sheridan is a former spokesman and director of regional media for the RNC.
“I’m proud to add Randy and Kevin to our growing team,” campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement. “They both have enjoyed long and distinguished careers in our party. Their work will be vital as we move forward in the campaign to defeat President Obama and elect Mitt Romney.”
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