As Donald Trump, the eventual GOP presidential nominee, sifts through a handful of potential vice presidential picks, one is rising to the top in Washington and conservative circles: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"He does all the things that Trump needs," said a Trump advisor.
While in the past it was key for candidates to consider a geographical teaming, with Trump the issue is energizing the Republican voting blocks with a running mate that could also provide savvy counsel once elected.
Insiders said that Gingrich's assets are his close ties to conservatives and the pro-life movement and his years as a lawmaker who as speaker was able to cut deals with then President Bill Clinton on Republican issues like welfare reform and balancing the budget. They also note his strong relationship with marriage activists, though critics will likely pounce on his two divorces.
He has also run for president, in 2012. He won Georgia, his home state, and South Carolina in the primaries and was twice the front runner in the polls. He proved an able debater, also.
"Newt solves a lot of problems for Trump. He's an outsider who nonetheless talks to the insiders. He will help unify the party and the convention, he's a great debater, he's a complete rebuke of the Romney remnants and the busted Bush brigades and is the GOP number one idea man," said Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, whose new book, "Citizen Newt," is to be released soon.
"He's been vetted and will keep the Clintons up pacing the floor all night. Gingrich beat the Clintons time and again. He's also an original Reaganite and that means everything to a party created by Ronald Reagan," added Shirley, who interviewed Gingrich some 30 times for his new 800-page bio.
Trump isn't expected to announce his pick until July and maybe not until the GOP convention in Cleveland begins.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org