Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio is the latest to get the vice-presidential buzz. And he has North Carolina ties: his wife, Jane, is a Winston-Salem native.
Portman traveled to Winston-Salem last month as a surrogate for Mitt Romney. He attended a fundraising luncheon before meeting with area business owners at a roundtable event and party activists at a local GOP office.
Republicans at the fundraising event had heard his name as a possible vice presidential pick -- but didn't know much else about him. He made a pitch about Romney's first days in office and his opposition to the federal health care law, casting each in measured tones and not hyper-partisan rhetoric and taking questions from the crowd.
"He's quiet, easy-going but extremely well prepared, thorough in his research with an incredible command of the facts," said Robin Hayes, the N.C. Republican Party chairman, who attended the event.
Hayes and Portman served in U.S. House together and Hayes called upon him often as a trade representative under President George W. Bush to discuss protections for the state's textile industry. He said Portman's North Carolina connection through his wife is "certainly a plus" in this swing state.