Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a failed 2012 Republican presidential candidate, is the leader in race to become Donald Trump's running mate, according to a late-breaking report from The Washington Post.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who dropped out of the 2016 race for the GOP nomination in February and soon thereafter endorsed Trump, is a close second, according to the Post, confirming earlier reports Thursday suggesting the same.
Sources said Trump's campaign officials have asked both Gingrich and Christie to submit documents for its vetting process, as well as answer more than 100 questions from attorney Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., who vetted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for Arizona Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.
Culvahouse, a former White House counsel, has also requested the men submit extensive personal and professional materials, including tax records, any published articles and books.
With less than three weeks before the GOP Convention in Cleveland, Gingrich and Christie top the list of candidates still being considered. While the two Republicans are very serious contenders, Trump associates cautioned the Post that the presumptive GOP nominee could still shake up his shortlist.
But things are looking up for Gingrich, as he has the support of advisors like former GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson, who is one of Trump's closest confidants.
Other names on the list include Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). Lower down on the list are Republican Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Thune (S.D.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Govs. Mike Pence (Ind.) and Mary Fallin (Okla.).
Both Christie and Gingrich have been vocal advocates for Trump, who, according to the report, admires the two men for their experience and their ability to work with Democrats. When asked about a potential running mate, Trump has frequently noted that he wants someone with experience and the ability to work well with Congress.
Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, who has been a staunch supporter of the billionaire businessman, said Trump "wants someone who can help get his legislative agenda through Congress."
"He’d be coming in as an outsider, and that has fueled his popularity," the pastor added. "But he is the first to admit that he doesn’t know all the ways of Washington. So to actually push what he wants through, he’s willing to reach out and get somebody to lend a hand."
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