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Pros: As one of the GOP’s “Young Guns,” Ryan, 41, is gaining national attention as a frequent television guest and go-to policy guy in Washington. He’s liked by tea party activists. As the Budget chairman, Ryan is seen as the party’s idea man, unafraid to tackle tough issues such as entitlement spending.
Cons: Like the others in House leadership, Ryan would have to give up a lot for a spot on the ticket. He may also have future presidential ambitions of his own.
Pros: He has a record as a giant-slayer for unseating then-Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004 and for winning tough races previously. He had no opposition for re-election in 2010. He looks the part and has a conservative voting record. The other candidates may appreciate that he opted against his own bid.
Cons: Like Noem, Thune wouldn’t bring geographic diversity to the ticket.
Pros: As the former leader of the conservative Club for Growth, Toomey has some national credentials that could translate well to a presidential ticket. He just won in a battleground state that has favored Democrats in recent national elections.
Cons: Democrats would paint him as an extremist for his conservative views. Since Toomey also is a former House Member, he’s not exactly a face for change.