A Senior GOP official told CNN that Rick Santorum, one of the fiercest competitors to Romney in the GOP primaries, will be a primetime speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 27 – 30. Also joining him will be Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin.
Here is a list of the speakers that have been announced so far:
- Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
- Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
- Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
- Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
- Florida Governor Rick Scott
- Arizona Senator John McCain
- Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
- South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
- Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
- Ohio Governor John Kasich
- New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
The announcement of Santorum as a speaker marks the first Romney rival that is scheduled to speak. This move could be to pull in the more conservative support for Romney and quash any rumors of animosity between the two, although this is purely speculative.
Also getting a primetime speaking slot is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite. This could potentially be a hat tip to the strong support that his father, Ron, has received since the GOP primaries started. As CNN put it:
The Kentucky senator is well regarded by tea party activists and will likely inherit his father’s political machine that is comprised of an eclectic group of anti-government, young, libertarian minded activists. Sen. Paul is said to be looking at running for president in 2016 if Romney loses in November. It is unclear if Rep. Paul will also speak at the convention.”
I have heard rumors that Rand’s father Ron Paul could be a speaker. Republicans could be waiting for a more dramatic moment to announce this – if it is a real possibility. Ron Paul has an extremely strong, albeit smaller, fan base that would love to see their favorite politician speak. Keep in mind: this is pure speculation here.
The addition of Jeb Bush is an interesting one, but is very understandable since the convention is taking place in Florida. The son and brother of the Bush presidents, Jeb served as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007 and is quite popular in the state of Florida – a swing state Romney needs to win. The current Governor, Rick Scott, will be speaking as well, but he is worlds apart from Bush in the popularity category; it is more of a pro forma move to have the home state Governor speak.
The growing list shows a good bit of diversity: women, minorities, tea party favorites, Romney rivals, rising stars, and a former presidential candidate. As I wrote yesterday, Republicans will certainly want to make this event appear to be a turning point for the Republican party; their Democratic counterparts have an underfunded event that has already been forced to cancel one day and move marquee events around to less expensive locations.
The race to the White House is extremely close at the moment, but Republicans keep showing they are on the rise, while news concerning the Democratic party is continually depressing…for them. With growing anticipation for a VP and keynote speaker announcement, Republicans look set to garner a solid amount of interest from Independents and undecided voters.
Who do you like on this list? Who do you want to see speaking? COMMENT below…