VP sweepstakes, McDonnell makes the most sense.
One thing I never see mentioned among all the pundits regarding the potential VP nominees is that taking control of the Senate is also a huge issue. These two considerations of candidate and taking the Senate intersect at the potential VP pick. If you have a popular sitting Republican Senator, such as Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, or Rob Portman selected to be the Vice Presidential candidate, the Republicans better have a slam dunk replacement candidate for the Senate seat or it becomes a potential loss. On the other hand, there are other valuable potential candidates that won’t affect the Senate races. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell cannot run again and Tim Pawlenty doesn’t affect the Senate. Paul Ryan is much more powerful as House Budget Committee chairman than he would be as the Vice President and can accomplish much more in his current position. The argument for someone like Ryan to be Vice President is if you are trying to set him up as a successor to Mitt Romney. Florida is likely going to Romney, anyway, without Marco Rubio on the ticket. Despite the fact that a Marco Rubio/Joe Biden debate would look like an Albert Einstein/Ernest P. Worrell discussion of quantum physics, Rubio won’t pull enough Hispanic votes to change New Mexico or Colorado. Additionally, Rubio has enough name recognition that he doesn’t need to be Vice President to have a shot at future presidential successor status. North Carolina and Ohio appear to be heading Romney’s way. The President’s gay marriage stand pretty much gave away North Carolina. Rob Portman isn’t well known enough to change states other than Ohio and should stay where he is and campaign in state for Romney. Indiana is almost certainly Republican. Therefore, Mitch Daniels (who just took another job) makes no sense. Minnesota elected Al Franken. The fact that Franken was even considered as a serious candidate means Tim Pawlenty won’t swing the state. As much as I love hearing Chris Christie, New Jersey will go Republican for President when Oregon does (don’t hold your breath). There may even be backlash at the Republicans for being “mean” enough to put Chris Christie on the same stage as Joe Biden (picture a match between Muhammad Ali in his prime/the chess club President in your junior high class). The election could very well hinge on Virginia. Bob McDonnell is very popular and fiscally successful in the Commonwealth of Virginia. McDonnell seems to be the best choice.