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Trump’s VP search is starting to get serious

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The former president is considering around a dozen contenders, though the list is in flux.

One contender Trump has viewed in that light is Vance, whom he called a “fighter” at a rally earlier this month.

“I would be interested in doing it if he asked me, but he also hasn’t asked me,” Vance said in an interview. “I don’t think he’s close to asking anybody. So I think it feels extremely premature.”

As he searches for a running mate this year, those under consideration are finding ways to be helpful with the campaign. Scott, for example, talks with Trump by call or text message nearly weekly, according to a person with knowledge of their relationship and granted anonymity to speak freely. The senator is also highly involved as a Trump campaign surrogate on TV.

Scott is making fundraising calls at the Trump campaign’s request and will attend rallies and fundraising events when asked, including appearing with Trump, Burgum and former GOP primary rival Vivek Ramaswamy next weekend at a big fundraiser in Palm Beach.

Burgum, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination, recently traveled to Nevada as a Trump campaign surrogate to speak to Clark County Republicans. He didn’t rule out serving in the Trump Cabinet or as vice president when pressed last week by Fox News host Neil Cavuto.

“I talk to the former president, but I know that he’s going to make a choice about his Cabinet and about who’s vice president at the time of his choosing,” Burgum said, adding that his “name has come up for about a half a dozen different Cabinet positions.”

The significance of a running mate on the election’s outcome has long been the subject of debate. Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2012, seemed to agree with Trump’s skepticism, saying in an interview, “generally vice president picks make no difference” in an election.

“As they say, VP picks can hurt you, they rarely help you,” Romney said.

But any decision could make a difference in a general election that may be determined in a few critical counties across a handful of battleground states. In 2016, Trump selected Pence to give him conservative bona fides and deliver evangelical voters. And beyond helping Trump in 2024, the next vice presidential nominee may also have a leg up in who Republicans nominate in 2028.