After months of secrecy and speculation, a name has finally emerged on the top of the short list of candidates for John Kerry’s vice-presidential running mate.
Forget the usual suspects. Those in the know say Mr. Kerry has taken a bold step away from the traditional, boring, old-boy Washington club. Instead, he’s seriously considering a newcomer on the political scene: Samuel “Squirrel” Efile, Certified Public Accountant and head of the think tank “Accountants for Offshore Support.”
“I do hope the rumor is true,” says Icahnn Count, spokesperson for the Institution of Certifiable Public Accountants. “Squirrel would certainly balance the ticket. Mr. Kerry needs an accountant on board to bring a touch of levity to what’s been an otherwise remarkably morose campaign.”
Pollsters agree that Mr. Efile’s name on the ballot will add an element of interest the Democratic party sorely needs. But they also say Mr. Efile may not have the political assets necessary to help Mr. Kerry gain the White House in November.
“His biggest liability is lack of experience,” says one. “He has only one unsuccessful run for Governor of California under his suspenders. It’s unlikely he’ll be able to win in the Electoral College.”
Stung by the criticism, supporters counter that despite admitted inexperience with the political process, Mr. Efile can deliver the most sought-after constituency—the still-undecided bean counters. They also believe a cross-occupational ticket, instead of the usual lawyer-lawyer line-up, will be a big draw for other crucial “swinging” voters.
“Squirrel’s not as pretty as John Edwards,” says Ms. Count. “And he may be a bit less well known than John McCain. But he’s definitely a favorite with people who believe a vice-president should bring more to the office than beauty and fame.”
Kerry insiders are, for now, remaining mum on the topic. They prefer to let the mystery build until the senator announces his decision at the convention in July.
Mr. Efile also declined to comment. But friends say he has privately stated that after the rigorous education required to become an accountant, he’s not worried about succeeding in the Electoral College.