As we approach the summer political conventions, curiosity is escalating over who will join Mitt Romney in seeking the White House. But the most obvious names and faces aren't necessarily the most likely choices.
Five favorites for Romney's running mate have emerged, but few of them deliver what Republicans ideally want in a vice president.
Here's a look at the current favorites, the dark horse candidates, and the candidates most likely to turn down the job despite their impressive resumes.
Mitt Romney's Running Mate in Election 2012: The Current Favorites1. Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Voters outside of Ohio don't really know this junior senator from this quintessential swing state. But, just in case you didn't know, Ohio and its 18 electoral votes will surely be up for grabs this fall. And that has Republicans buzzing about Portman and his electability.
Portman provides popularity in the Midwestern trenches, where it will certainly be a dogfight up until Nov. 6. As an Ohio Congressman, Portman consistently won his southern Ohio House district with at least 70% of the vote. In his 2010 senate campaign, he won 57% of the vote and carried a staggering 82 of his state's 88 counties.
Portman also has received commendation for executive experience and time in Washington on his resume, having served George W. Bush as budget director.
Still, this executive experience could be his biggest weakness. Portman presided over then-record deficits during the Bush years, which doesn't mesh well with the GOP message of reducing government spending. Nonetheless, Portman provides political cover and popularity in a crucial swing state.
The only glaring downside for the Republicans would be that his departure from the Senate could lead to the party losing a critical spot come 2016 when Portman's seat is up for reelection.
Overall: Medium Risk, Medium Reward.