WASHINGTON - As an increasing number of party favorites distance themselves from former Gov. Mitt Romney and his approach to a hard lock on the Republican nomination, one local leader has signaled he would consider taking up the mantle of "running mate."
Romney is the clear front-runner more than 48 percent of the Republican support, according to the most recent RealClearPolitics aggregate poll, now that Rick Santorum has dropped out. The former Massachusetts governor now only faces Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both more than 27 points behind the leader. He expects to win the five states holding primaries on Tuesday -- Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island -- and the 231 delegates that come with them.
The Republican governor of Virginia, the nation's top state for business, according to a 2011 study, told WTOP on Tuesday he would be open to accepting the position of running mate, if asked.
"If the nominee comes, of course you consider it," Bob McDonnell said on WTOP's "Ask The Governor" program, adding he is not proactively "looking for" or "asking for" the position.
McDonnell seized the opportunity while speaking about energy and business development -- two hot topics during the election season -- to take pot shots at the administration of President Barack Obama, who will likely face off against Romney in the fall.
"The more (the White House) stays out of our way, the better we do," he said. "I'll give them credit for staying out."
He also chided the president for not allowing Virginia to explore drilling for oil off its coast, which he says would lower gas prices.
"We need to use all of our God-given resources in America," he said, instead of relying on a supply of oil from an unstable Middle East.
The field of potential contenders for the vice presidential nod has narrowed as Romney heads closer to the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the party nomination. Wins across the board on Tuesday would bring his total up to 886.
Many in the party have looked to young up-and-comers like Tea Party favorite and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, or Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a freshman lawmaker. Both politicians backed away from the spotlight earlier in April, saying they would not seek the vice presidential position.
The governors of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, and New Mexico, Susana Martinez, also shied away from the position.
Check out what else Gov. McDonnell discussed Tuesday, including E-ZPass fees, speed cameras in Virginia and his stance on abortion, in our Live Blog:
10:57 a.m., speaking about his alma mater Notre Dame losing to Baylor in the women's basketball championship:
It was a spectacular accomplishment.
10:56 a.m., speaking about a case where a transgendered individual is trying to get the prison system to pay for a state sex change:
The courts have ruled that's not a requirement for the state. Prisoners are entitled to "basic, good medical care."
My concern is getting them out of prison and keeping them out.
10:54 a.m., speaking about if he would consider accepting the vice presidential position for the Republican Party:
"I'm not looking for it, I'm not asking for it."
If the nominee comes, of course you consider it.
10:53 a.m., speaking about allowing speed cameras, currently not used in Virginia:
I would prefer to have police officers preventing and solving crimes instead of speeding issues.
Cameras should be a public safety issue, not a revenue generator. We should find a way to enforce the law, for public safety issues.
10:51 a.m., speaking about E-ZPass monthly maintenance fees:
Those aren't free. The consumer pays a transaction fee every time they're used. This is just one suggestion.
"I'm a little concerned about it."
10:46 a.m., speaking about gas prices:
It's hard for anyone to control the price at the pump. The gas tax does some of that. I've asked the White House to give us the ability to drill off-shore. The more supply you have, the less gas prices ought to be.
The situation will not get any better as long as we rely on supply from an unstable Middle East.
"We need to use all of our God-given resources in America."
10:42 a.m., speaking about voter IDs:
I'm a firm believer in one person, one vote. That's a constitutional principle.
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