Intensifying Bob Dole’s search for a running mate, aides have prepared a methodical questionnaire asking prospects to detail their political, financial and medical histories, according to campaign and GOP sources.
Sending the questionnaire will mark the first official step in the screening process. Dole’s search team has been flooded with suggestions from campaign advisers and other Republicans.
Within the campaign, most aides believe Dole has not completely closed the door on retired Gen. Colin Powell, though Dole has discouraged speculation about Powell recently. “I don’t think he has any interest in being on the ticket,” Dole said Friday. “I think he has made his decision: no elective office in 1996.”
With the questionnaire prepared, some campaign officials and advisers are eager to speed up the search, to give Dole plenty of time to review his options - and the campaign time to conduct detailed public opinion and other research once the list is narrowed to a few prospects.
Several Dole advisers and associates said they believed the questionnaire would be sent to a relatively small pool of prospects, probably no more than a dozen. But Dole himself, the sources said, has not provided a list of candidates and has given no indication he is in any rush to do so.
Two sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dole and other top aides believe the search can be completed in three weeks to a month, and want to kick into high gear at the beginning of July. The Republican National Convention is in mid-August, and Dole has said he wants to make his pick just before the convention.
Such a written questionnaire was used by Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in 1988 and again by then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton four years ago. In those campaigns, information requested included tax and other financial records, as well as a detailed medical history.
Prospects also were asked if they faced, or had faced, legal or government ethics proceedings.