Mitt Romney will announce his vice-presidential candidate Saturday morning, the campaign said late Friday, as Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin emerged as the leading contender.
Speculation has centered on several surrogates who have campaigned with the presumptive Republican nominee in recent weeks, including Rep. Ryan, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Late Friday, however, some of these men appeared to be out of contention. A GOP official said that Mr. Romney told Mr. Portman he wasn’t the pick. Sen. Portman will stick with his plans to participate in a fund-raising bike ride for cancer research in Ohio Saturday. An official with the Republican Party of New Hampshire confirmed that Mr. Pawlenty would be campaigning in that state Saturday.
Mr. Ryan’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment. NBC News reported that “three different sources close to the Romney campaign indicate” he will be the pick. The Associated Press also reported Mr. Romney has chosen Mr. Ryan, citing a Republican with knowledge of the situation.
In recent days, influential conservatives have renewed calls for Mr. Romney to choose Mr. Ryan, the 42-year-old House Budget Committee chairman, as his running mate.
In Mr. Ryan, the Romney campaign would get a conservative who has spent recent years at the center of national debates about the size and scope of the federal government. With his proposals to revamp entitlement programs for future retirees and the poor, he has become a a hero to conservatives but made many opponents among liberals.
Mr. Romney will announce his running mate at a 9 a.m. event in Norfolk, his campaign said, as he starts a previously planned bus tour of battleground states. His running mate will be revealed at a stop at the USS Wisconsin, which carries the name of Rep. Ryan’s home state.
“On Saturday, Mitt Romney will begin his ‘The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class’ bus tour by announcing his choice for Vice Presidential candidate in Norfolk, Virginia,” the campaign said in a press release.
On prediction market Intrade late Friday, bets on Mr. Ryan surged, making him the overwhelming favorite, while the odds on previous leader Mr. Portman grew very long.
Speculation had been building that the announcement was close. The Romney campaign had previously said it would come before the Republican National Convention kicks off Aug. 27 in Tampa, Fla., but the candidate and his aides had offered few other clues. Most recent presidential nominees have announced their selection in the week before their party’s national convention.
In recent days, Republicans and conservative opinion leaders have split into two groups—one urging a safe pick and the other urging a bolder and perhaps riskier choice.
The first group has pushed for figures such as Mr. Portman or Mr. Pawlenty, who they believe would shore up Mr. Romney’s image as a steady, competent leader who can get the economy growing strongly again.
The second group has backed choices such as Mr. Ryan, as well as Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who are known for tough lines on fiscal matters, and Mr. Rubio, who has excited the party’s base.
Mr. Romney is flanked on the bus tour by much of his inner circle, including Beth Myers, who led the vice-presidential search committee, his long-time adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and Bob White, one of the candidate’s closest friends.
–Janet Hook contributed to this article.
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Rob Portman is a senator from Ohio. An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled his first name.R Soft Web Hosting