The Herd: A Look at The Republican Vice Presidential Candidates. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Bookmark and Share   The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious potential choices to be selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate on the Republican presidential ticket.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one the many Republicans which we believe will be at least considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to a biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Mitt Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 takes a look at Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

Born (1954-12-09) December 9, 1954 (age 57) Warrensburg, Missouri, U.S.
Political Party Republican
Spouse(s) Joseph Fallin (1984-1998)[2] Wade Christensen[2]
Residence Governor’s Mansion
Alma mater Oklahoma Baptist University University of Central Oklahoma Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

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Fallin was elected Governor of Oklahoma in 2010 after spending two terms in Congress.  Prior to that she served three terms as the state’s Lieutenant Governor. She is seen as strong willed, conservative and in her first year in office she streamlined and modernized state government, reformed education, and reduced health care costs. In that first year, she also sought out to make up a $400 million budget deficit through a combination of a 5% across-the-board agency budget cuts, and increased tax enforcement.

Fallin is not an immediate addition to any list of potential vice presidential candidates but any process that is designed to take a comprehensive look at the best possible prospects, would have to conclude that Mary Fallin has to be considered.  In other words, would she be a competent President if the need arises and can she bring something to the presidential ticket that can go a long way in  helping to win the presidential election?

The answer is probably not.

Still though,  for the purpose of exploring viable options for Mitt Romney’s selection of a Vice President, it must be understood that while Oklahoma is not a swing state that has a chance of going for President Obama in 2012, Fallin’s appeal on a wider scale can not be denied. However, much like several other potential running mates, Fallin has not yet really shined as an accomplished political leader on the executive level. If given the chance though, she can confidently articulate the issues and lay out her vision in a way that can help prove she is to up to the job. The only real immediate drawback to her candidacy is the fodder that an old incident might become in a national election.

In December 1998, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol bodyguard for then Lt. Gov. Fallin, resigned after admitting to unprofessional conduct. One week before that disclosure, Fallin filled for divorce amid allegations by her estranged husband that she had had an affair with a bodyguard. During this time, the trooper who admitted to “unprofessional conduct” resigned but never claimed that his conduct involved any sexual activity with Fallin.

The relevance of that really only lies in how much traction as a distraction it could become in the election and if Republicans can afford to or want to contend with it possibly becoming an issue. Then again, few thought that Newt could make it as far as he did in the presidential contest and he has been accused of multiple affairs. So if one’s personal relationships are not the focus of national politics in 2012, Fallin has a fair chance of winding up on the long list of potential running mates, even if it is for no other reason than to hope that Fallin can  ensure that the Republican base in the South, comes out to vote for Romney and prevents any upsets by President Obama among the Southern electoral vote count which a Republican presidential victory relies upon quite heavily.  As Duane Shepherd, a Conservative Republican from Oklahoma City put it in an interview from Examiner.com;

“If Romney gets the nomination and wins and she was the vice-president, maybe she could help rein in his liberal tendencies. He is much to liberal for most Republicans and she would help balance the ticket.”

Pros:

  • Can help improve Romney’s standing among women voters
  • Helps Romney among evangelicals and shores up his opposition to abortion rights

Cons:

  • Has not established herself as a powerful force nationally or regionally
  • Has not yet been vetted to any great extent
  • Has some dirty laundry that will be aired in any national campaign and could become too much of a distraction
  • In office as Governor for only two years but has served multiple terms as Lt. Governor

Assessment:

While there is nothing that should preclude Fallin from the ticket, there is also not much to push her ahead of others who have accomplished more and are also on a long list  of very prominent leaders.  She does not have any single claim to fame or immediately outstanding expertise in any area of concern in this election and she does not yet have a vast regional following in the South yet. However, any negatives regarding Fallin are overshadowed by the positives in her record and as such she may help to energize some of the uninspired voters within the Southern base of the G.O.P.. and she could be a decent compromise candidate. However, she remains an longshot.

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Recent Key Votes

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Mary Fallin on The Issues

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