The field of GOP presidential candidates for 2012 may not be so great, but the VP field is getting the right energized. A wealth of new Congress members and governors has Republicans buzzing over potential veeps like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Kelly Ayotte, Politico reports. Where the potential presidential candidates are mostly white, male, and not from battleground states, the would-be veeps boast an impressive diversity when it comes to race, gender, geographical location, and political experience—and they’re young, with many under 50 and one under 40.
“Anytime that you have a hugely successful year, like we had in 2010, we put a lot of dynamic candidates on the board,” says Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign manager. That’s quite a difference from 2008, when the GOP was struggling with the aftermath of disappointing elections in 2006 and John McCain had few choices for a running mate. Republicans elected just three new senators and five new governors between 2006 and 2008—compared to 15 new governors and 14 new senators in 2010 alone. Other potential candidates include governors Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, and Rick Perry, among many others.