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Next up on Trump's evolving list of potential vice-presidential nominees: Tom Cotton

John L. Dorman   

Next up on Trump's evolving list of potential vice-presidential nominees: Tom Cotton
  • Tom Cotton has emerged as a potential running mate for former President Donald Trump.
  • Cotton, first elected to the Senate in 2014, is known for his staunchly conservative views.

High-profile GOP figures like Senators JD Vance of Ohio and Tim Scott of South Carolina have long been bandied about as potential running mates for former President Donald Trump.

But one of their Senate colleagues has also emerged as a potential pick: Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

According to The New York Times, Trump sees Cotton as adept at cable news appearances, an important conduit for reaching GOP audiences. The former president also admires Cotton's military service and overseas deployments and speaks highly of the senator's Harvard-educated background.

In addition to Cotton, Vance, and Scott, Trump is also strongly considering Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as potential running mates, according to the Times. The former president has also mentioned the five politicians as possible cabinet choices should he choose another candidate as his No. 2.

Individuals close to Trump who spoke with the Times said the ex-president isn't wedded to any particular figures and could consider other Republicans as the final decision looms.

Of the candidates on Trump's radar, all have been reliable foot soldiers of the former president's conservative views. And Trump — embroiled in myriad legal issues — is looking to tap a well-regarded candidate who won't create any major controversies for his campaign, the Times reported.

Burgum briefly ran for president against Trump last year but suspended his campaign in December and threw his support behind the ex-president shortly before the Iowa caucuses. Rubio famously jostled with Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries but has since overwhelmingly supported the former president.

Cotton and Scott were strong legislative allies of Trump during his first administration, and Vance has emerged as one of the former president's leading "America First" adherents in the Senate.

When Cotton — who was first elected to the Senate in 2014 — was asked last week about being part of a potential second Trump administration, he said he's mostly spoken with the former president about strategies for winning in November.

"I suspect only Donald Trump knows who is really on his short list," Cotton told Fox News. "When we do talk, we talk about what it's going to take to win this election … to elect President Trump to another term in the White House and elect a Republican Congress."

While Cotton's selection would be a huge hit with conservatives, it is unclear if he would be able to help Trump with suburban voters — a weak demographic for the former president — especially given the senator's strong anti-abortion views.

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