Will Romney’s VP Pick be Education Focused?

Ginger Gibson from Politico discusses possible Vice Presidential picks for Republican nominee Mitt Romney who are not ignoring the issue of education. While names like Rubio and Portman are being touted as the most likely picks, education is certainly becoming a more important issue than it has been in the past — and that opens the door to a prominent education activist as running mate.

Among the possible contenders with a high education profile are the Governors Jindal, McDonnell and Christie who have all been heavily pushing for education reform within their own states.

Of additional interest to Mitt Romney are the polls which indicate that he is trailing the current President by more than 10% with women and that education is a female vote friendly issue. Picking one of the aforementioned Governors could go a long way to improving the chances for Romney’s candidacy.

“Education is a very important issue across-the-board but it’s particularly important among women,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres. “Since education is widely viewed as primarily a state rather than a federal issue, it becomes a critical way for Republican candidates to close the gender gap.”

Of course a strong education platform isn’t merely a female vote-winner; the US education system is widely considered to be in a state of crisis.

Bush ran his first presidential campaign on an education-heavy message, touting his reform efforts in Texas while he was governor.

“It’s one of the reasons why he won the presidency in 2000,” Ayres said.

Governor Bobby Jindal has recently signed into law a charter school expansion bill that makes half of Louisiana’s public students eligible for vouchers that will allow parents to use government funding for their choice of private school tuition. Governor Bob McDonnell has demonstrated a commitment to expanding virtual education and now Virginia requires students to take an online class in order to meet graduation requirements. Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has been a vocal and ardent supporter of education reform but his fiscal policy may not mesh with Romney.

Christie has made many of his education proposals about taxes, particularly property and income taxes that are some of the highest in the nation and used to support schools.

“Every issue out there is being looked at through an economic lens today,” Goeas said. “That is true of national defense, that is true of education, that’s true of social issues and that’s true of spending, along with taxes, along with where are we on the economy.”

If Romney does choose one of this trio it will likely please the Education Action Group who recently called for much more educational focus in political discussion, noting that no other issue as important to regular voters (polls indicate that 67% of voters in swing states consider education to be a critically important issue) has ever been so ignored.