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Politics

Oddsmaker Makes Marco Rubio the Favorite to be Mitt Romney's Running Mate

April 3, 2012 - 6:00pm

Florida's U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is the favorite to be Mitt Romneys running mate, according to Paddy Power, the largest bookmaker in Europe, which released odds on the veepstakes on Wednesday morning.

After Romneys sweep of three primary contests in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin on Tuesday, Paddy Power is ready to concede the nomination to the former governor of Massachusetts and look to the general election against President Barack Obama.

Romneys latest victories have put him in a very strong position and, with his focus now turning to Obama, I wouldnt be surprised if he already had his running mate in mind, a Paddy Power spokesman said.

Rubio, who endorsed Romney last week, ranks as the overwhelming favorite from Paddy Power with 2-1 odds. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, also a Romney backer, garners 5-1 odds. Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico is also in the mix with 11-2 odds. So is U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, despite his father -- U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas -- remaining in the nomination race. Paul gets 15-2 odds. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who backed Romney last week and is best known for leading the House Budget Committee, garners 9-1 odds, while another Romney supporter -- Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia -- is a 10-1 underdog.

While he has exchanged fire with Romney during the campaign, presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, remains alive in the veepstakes with Paddy Power giving him 20-1 odds. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina get the same odds from Paddy Power to be on the Republican ticket. So do two leading Republicans who opted out of running for president -- Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.

Paddy Power gave longer odds to two former governors who did seek the Republican nomination -- Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah. Theyre both 25-1 underdogs, according to Paddy Power. Three other potential vice presidential possibilities -- Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire -- also stand with 25-1 odds.

Paddy Power set two of the leading Republicans in the South -- U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi -- as 33-1 underdogs to end up as Romneys running mate.

While they are still in the Republican presidential race, Paddy Power gave former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul little chance of winding up on the Republican ticket. Gingrich gets 40-1 odds, while Paul is a 50-1 underdog. Businesswoman Meg Whitman, a Romney supporter who was defeated by Jerry Brown in the 2010 California gubernatorial race, gets the same odds as Ron Paul to end up on the ticket.

Paddy Power also released odds on extreme longshots for the Republican ticket. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was John McCains running mate in 2008, is a 66-1 underdog for a repeat performance. It has not happened often, but losing vice presidential candidates have often re-emerged down the road. Thomas Hendricks was Samuel J. Tildens running mate on the Democratic ticket in the controversial 1876 presidential election. Hendricks would later emerge as Grover Clevelands vice president after the 1884 elections.

After coming up short on the Whig ticket in 1836, John Tyler would become vice president in the 1840 elections and president when William Henry Harrison died after a month in office. Franklin Roosevelt, who would be James Coxs running mate in 1920 on the Democratic ticket that came up short against Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge, set his ambitions a little higher come 1932.

Palin is not the only Republican who gets 66-1 odds from Paddy Power. After his ill-fated presidential bid, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas earns the same odds. So does former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who backed Obama in 2008.

Despite their strong showings in polls in 2011, Paddy Power has little faith that U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann or businessman Herman Cain will emerge on the ticket. Bachmann, who won the Iowa Republican straw poll, is an 80-1 underdog while Cain, who won the Presidency 5 straw poll held by the Republican Party of Florida in Orlando, gets 100-1 odds.

Businessman and reality television star Donald Trump, who flirted with a presidential bid before backing Romney, also gets 80-1 odds.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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