Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is widely expected to announce her vice presidential running mate shortly after the end of this week's Republican National Convention.
People with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday that Clinton has a "short list" of nine people she is considering.
“That’s not the real list,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, told VOA. “The reason you issue a list of that length is to please various party constituencies and even powerful individuals.”
The Clinton campaign has held focus groups recently to help identify potential candidates. Clinton has met with several of them recently at her Washington home.
“I also think they are ... sending out some weather balloons” for potential Cabinet appointees, Pennsylvania State University political scientist Mark Major said in an interview with VOA.
The running mate announcement from Clinton is expected to come Friday or Saturday. “This is already determined. We just don’t know who it is. That’s a very, very tight operation. It’s close to leak-free,” Sabato said of the Clinton campaign organization.
Clinton is scheduled to attend campaign organizing events Friday and Saturday in Florida, the nation’s largest battleground state with 29 electoral votes at stake.
“If you’re looking around the country for swing states with a lot of electoral votes, you start with Florida,” Sabato said.
Former NATO commander
Clinton campaign aides say she is considering a vice presidential running mate with national security experience, a factor that has sharpened the focus on former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis, who now is dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a graduate school for international affairs.
FILE - Adm. James Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 29, 2011, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
David Lublin, professor at American University’s School of Public Affairs, told VOA that national security “often gets underplayed as a factor in presidential elections,” but is becoming a higher priority after recent high-profile terrorist attacks.
"The conversation has really changed in the last month with Orlando and, of course, the Nice attack," said Lara Brown, program director of George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.
Brown said add to that a recent spate of violence (the Dallas sniper who killed five police officers and the high-profile shooting deaths of African-Americans by police) right here in the United States, calling it a "national sense of insecurity."
"Originally her team was looking at someone to bolster her in terms of progressive, economic domestic kinds of issues, but I do think that the bigger concern now is foreign policy, national security and domestic tumult and this law and order question," she said.
Many political observers consider Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia Clinton’s top choice for the vice presidency. Kaine is among a field of prospects who include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Housing Secretary Julian Castro and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks with a reporter as he arrives for a classified briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry on Iran, on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 22, 2015.
Major said Clinton would most likely select a white male.
“We’ve seen a huge gender gap in this election.” He added that whoever is chosen, the impact on public opinion will be negligible, as is usually the case with vice presidential nominees. “It’s one way to sort of balance out your portfolio,” he said.
A strong vice presidential running mate, Sabato said, should be able to help the presidential nominee do two things: win the election and govern.
“It would also be nice if a vice president brought some electoral votes,” Sabato said, adding that Kaine could potentially do so as a senator from the swing state of Virginia.