J.D. Vance is on Trump's VP shortlist
Senator J.D. Vance is on the shortlist of potential running mates for Donald Trump.
Why it matters: Trump's nomination is being treated as inevitable after his dominant victory in the Iowa caucuses, and Republicans are buzzing about likely VP candidates.
The big picture: The stakes for Trump's next running mate are far higher than in 2016.
- Former Vice President Mike Pence is viewed as a traitor in the MAGA world for certifying President Biden's victory in the aftermath of Jan. 6 — making unconditional loyalty to Trump a top priority for any potential running mate.
- But given the Republican Party is still fractured — and questions persist about Trump's vulnerabilities in the general election — the pick must also be strategic.
State of play: Trump told Fox News earlier this month that he's already decided on a running mate.
- His campaign downplayed that claim, but there's little doubt — based on media reports and chatter from top surrogates — that a shortlist has emerged.
Details: Vance became an Ohio senator in 2022, defeating a crowded primary field largely on the strength of Trump's endorsement.
- He has been an outspoken Trump defender and shares the former president's populist views on immigration and "America First" foreign policy.
- "I'd love to see a J.D. Vance," Donald Trump Jr. told Newsmax recently as he listed his shortlist. "People who are principally in alignment as well as aggressive."
Yes, but: Trump is also reportedly considering Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), chair of the House GOP conference, and fellow presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who placed third in Iowa and could help attract moderates and swing voters in a general election.
Catch up quick: U.S. senators serve six-year terms. If Vance were selected and Trump won, Gov. Mike DeWine would appoint a temporary replacement until the next statewide general election in 2025.
- Voters would then select a candidate to fill the remainder of Vance's term, which runs until January 2029.
Meanwhile, the race is on for the other Senate seat in Ohio, currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.
- The three leading Republican challengers — Bernie Moreno, Frank LaRose and Matt Dolan — will face off Monday evening in a debate sponsored by Cleveland's Fox 8.
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