1. Brian Schweitzer
Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.) (EPA/ZUMAPRESS.com)
As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this farmer/rancher may just be the president’s best option right now for a populist partner.
Yeas: Schweitzer, a self-proclaimed “pickup-driving, gun-loving” Democrat, possesses the appealing centrist profile that could strengthen Obama’s efforts to court moderate Democrats and independents. Additionally, as head of the Democratic Governors Association, giving speeches in bolo ties, jeans, and cowboy boots, Schweitzer has created a national profile for himself. Schweitzer is also term-limited in 2012 and will be formulating his next career move. Right now, he’s one of the most popular governors in the country, as far as approval ratings go.
Nays: Schweitzer and Obama have openly been at odds on several issues, including when the governor asked the administration to force GM to honor a contract in Montana. Schweitzer’s request was not heeded. And all quirkiness aside, Schweitzer’s more moderate positions on gun control and other issues is likely to displease some liberals.