Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul; it’s over.
And Rick Santorum? Well, we toyed with the idea for a while, but it was more of just a fling.
The lights have come on at the nightclub that is the campaign for the Republican nomination, and that slightly awkward girl you noticed earlier in the night, only to dismiss in hope of a better option, has become the one to take home.
After months of seemingly endless to-ing and fro-ing, Mitt Romney has all but secured the Republican nomination, earning the right to challenge Barack Obama for the White House.
Yet, no sooner had much of the media declared Romney the winner, the discussion turned to the first choice he will make on his path to the presidency.
Romney has to choose a running mate to walk the road with him; someone he believes will stand beside him on Inauguration Day.
It goes without saying that Romney will need to find a exceptional vice presidential candidate to join forces with him, in an effort to pry some votes from areas of the community he seems especially out of touch with.
But that begs the question: who exactly does Romney have to choose from?
As Romney stars in his own bizarre, 2012 reincarnation of the dating game, here are a few of the names to watch for in the battle to secure Romney’s partnership.
The Safe Choice: Paul Ryan
Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan – and House budget chairman – endorsed Romney’s campaign in March this year.
‘I am convinced that Mitt Romney has the skills, the tenacity, the principles, the courage and the integrity to put America back on track,’ Ryan said.
He added that, of the Republican presidential candidates, Romney ‘has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama in the fall’ when endorsing the former Massachusetts governor.
Ryan is something of a safe choice for Romney, and also seems like the man with the inside track for the vice presidential nod, after he has been campaigning alongside Romney this week.
The two seem to have a terrific rapport judging from their opening few stanzas, but remarkably, Ryan is perhaps even less charismatic than Romney.
That hardly seems to bode well for Romney.
The Highest Risk/Reward Choice: Marco Rubio
It’s no secret that Mitt Romney has somewhat struggled in trying to appeal to many areas of the American community, especially the Latino community.
That’s where Florida Senator Marco Rubio comes in handy for Romney.
Yet, besides the obvious benefits of Rubio, he presents plenty of other positives for the Romney campaign.
Rubio is an unabashed conservative, and has the backing and support of the Tea Party, which would help Romney try to win back over some of the more Conservative Republicans that have been disheartened by Romney’s moves in the past.
Plus, Rubio comes from the vitally important swing-state of Florida, which has often played a pivotal role in determining the outcome of an election.
But for all his strengths, Rubio’s relative inexperience could be dangerous to the Romney camp, especially when contrasted with current Vice President Joe Biden’s almost 40 years of experience.
The Late Charge: Chris Christie
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has emerged as a legitimate contender in the past weeks, especially off the back of his recent trip to Israel, which has been slated by many as a booming success for Christie.
His Israel trip has skyrocketed his foreign policy credentials. He has been an outspoken supporter of Romney in the past, and even has an upcoming autobiography set to release in the next month.
Christie is drawing plenty of ‘buzz’ that extends beyond just the Republican community, and ‘buzz’ and ‘excitement’ are things not only adjectives that Romney’s campaign has sorely lacked, but also things that it desperately needs.
Christie would give Romney’s camp the traditional Vice Presidential candidate ‘attack dog’ position, and it’s hard to envision Christie taking a backwards step in continuing Romney’s attack on Barack Obama over his supposed first-term failings.
But, on that same notion, Christie’s brash demeanor could hurt the Romney camp, and one ill-timed press conference explosion could doom the campaign.
Liam Quinn is a second-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University. He is currently on exchange at Michigan State University, and is covering the 2012 US presidential elections for upstart. You can follow him on Twitter: @liamquinn23