Over the past several weeks, a new name has surfaced in the background buzz among Republican insiders about possible vice-presidential nominees: Freshman Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
And on Monday, National Review columnist Jim Geraghty wrote a piece building the case for Toomey, a supply-side economic conservative who opposes abortion rights, as the perfect running mate for Mitt Romney, distrusted by many on the right.
If Romey wins, he will need somebody who can reassure the GOP base without scaring the pants off moderates and independents, the thinking goes. And that could be Toomey, a sober though doctrinaire conservative who has emerged as a leader on fiscal issues - most recently as carrier of the Republican negotiating position on the congressional deficit supercommittee.
Toomey grew up in a blue-collar Democratic household, and represented a swing House district in the Allentown area for three terms in the 1990s. He then went on to lead the Club for Growth, a leading anti-tax advocacy group.
Those who like Toomey for Veep say that his ability to win in a moderate swing state is crucial, considering that the race for president may come down to Rust Belt electoral-college prizes such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. He is seen as more accomplished than another conservative favorite - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio - and outscores Gov. Christie of New Jersey on some measures of fidelity to conservative principles.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has tied or led Romney in some recent polls, could also benefit from partnership with Toomey if he were to win the GOP nomination, Geraghty argues. Gingrich has departed from the faith on some occasions, such as supporting government action to combat global warming in the past, and many tea partiers are turned off by his $1.6 million consulting gig with Freddie Mac, the quasi-government mortgage giant whom conservatives blame in part for triggering the housing crisis.
"I don't see that happening," Toomey said of a vice presidential run, in an interview with National Review. Hmm...he displays appropriate modesty too!