Yes, I know. The Democratic primary race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is still going on. But, the delegate math is very, very close to determinative — in her favor.
While the race will go on — maybe even until June 7 when California closes out the process — it's worth taking a first cut at the men and women that Clinton will consider to be her vice presidential nominee. This is a conversation that has been going on behind the scenes — in Washington and elsewhere — for the better part of the last two years (and truthfully, longer).
But now, with Clinton's nomination all but assured, the "who will she pick" conversation will break more into the public light. So, without further ado, the initial Fix rankings of Clinton's likely picks. (And make sure to read how the Republican candidates are already thinking about veep picks too.)
To the line!
5. Amy Klobuchar: We know from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, that Clinton will have a woman in her final vice presidential mix. The only question is who. Klobuchar fills that slot for now as an up-and-coming star in the party who represents a state — Minnesota — where Democrats would be favored to hold a seat in the Senate. But this could be Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) or former Homeland Security secretary and Arizona governor Janet Napolitano — or a woman we are not even thinking about right now.
4. Tom Perez: The Labor secretary checks two boxes for Clinton (and, yes, some of vice presidential picking is box-checking): He's well regarded in liberal circles, and he's Hispanic. Also, he's not named "Elizabeth Warren" or "Bernie Sanders" — neither of whom Clinton wants to pick. The problem for Perez? This Politico report gets at it: "Aside from the wonkiest of Washington circles and the most progressive corners of the left, no one’s heard of Tom Perez. He isn’t young or handsome. He has zero foreign policy experience. The highest office he’s been elected to is a suburban county council." Yup. That.
3. Tim Kaine: The Virginia senator was among the first — if not the first — major elected official to endorse Clinton's presidential campaign. (He said he was for her in May 2014.) That's Kaine's MO; he endorsed then-Sen. Barack Obama in February 2007. Kaine's profile — Christian missionary, fluent Spanish speaker, governor and now senator of a swing state — is outstanding. The one issue for Kaine: He's a white male with "senator" before his name right now.
2. Sherrod Brown: Stylistically, Brown, who has been a member of Congress, Ohio secretary of state and now a U.S. senator, is Clinton's opposite. Gruff to her polished. Populist to her, um, not populist. Blue collar to her white collar. And he's from Ohio — one of the swingiest states in the country. Brown could also be — and would likely relish — the traditional vice presidential role as an attack dog against the Republican ticket. One downside for Brown: Picking him and winning puts a very competitive Senate seat in play at a time when Democrats are trying to win back control of the chamber.
1. Julian Castro: Castro, on paper, is the person Clinton would like to pick. Why? He is a telegenic 41-year-old Latino from Texas. He complements her in virtually every way, demographically speaking. My working belief has long been that Castro was picked to be secretary of housing and urban development in the Obama administration at least in part so he would have the experience and profile to be part of a national ticket. Castro will absolutely be vetted; whether he passes that vet remains to be seen.