The politician who tops the list of preferred running mates for former President Donald Trump in a new poll in a key northeastern swing state is not even a Republican.

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination but left her party two years later to become an independent, stands atop the list in a new University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of voters who indicated that they are not supporting President Biden in New Hampshire named Gabbard when asked their preference for whom Trump should choose as his running mate.

Gabbard stood seven points ahead of multi-millionaire biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who was one of roughly a dozen candidates who unsuccessfully challenged Trump for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.


Tulsi Gabbard, former Representative from Hawaii

Tulsi Gabbard, former Representative from Hawaii, speaks during the Palmetto Family Council’s Vision 24 national conservative policy forum in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Photographer: Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Photographer: Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Ramaswamy endorsed Trump as he dropped out of the White House race in January.

Two more former primary rivals – Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – stood at 13% and 9% support in the poll.

Scott endorsed Trump in January and has regularly appeared with the former president on the campaign trail in recent months. DeSantis endorsed Trump as he dropped out of the race in January, but has not joined the former president on the campaign trail. 

Six percent of those questioned preferred South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Trump ally and supporter, as the former president’s choice for running mate.


And five percent said they would like to see former U.N. ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as Trump’s running mate. 

Haley was the last Trump rival for the nomination before dropping her bid over two months ago. She has not endorsed Trump but on Wednesday said she would vote for the former president over Biden in November.

Other potential running mates sampled in the poll grabbed single-digit support.

Gabbard, an officer in the Hawaii National Guard, is a veteran of the Iraq War. She made history as the first Samoan-American elected to Congress. She was once a member of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Democrat elite are threatening and undermining our fundamental freedom: Tulsi Gabbard Video

She mounted a long-shot White House bid of her own in 2020. But since leaving the Democratic Party, she has started appealing to conservatives.

At a Fox News town hall in South Carolina in February ahead of that state’s GOP presidential primary, Trump indicated that at least a half-dozen contenders – including Gabbard – were on his short list for running mate.


And Gabbard has praised Trump, telling Fox News earlier this year, “I’ve met a lot of strong, tough people in my life [and] I can’t think of a single one who could not only withstand all that is coming at Donald Trump without crumbling, but someone who would actually choose to keep fighting against the entire Washington establishment.”

She has also told Fox News that she would be open to serving on a national ticket with Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard Don Bolduc in New Hampshire

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (right), a Democrat-turned-independent, campaigns with the Republican Senate nominee in New Hampshire, Don Bolduc, in Loudon, N.H., on October 17, 2022 (Fox News – Paul Steinhauser)

Gabbard is also a familiar face in New Hampshire, which may play a part in her topping the list of preferred Trump running mates in the new poll.

She spent plenty of time in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state in 2019, during her 2020 White House run.

And Gabbard returned to the Granite State a handful of times in 2022, as she joined retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc on the campaign trail as that year’s Republican Senate nominee unsuccessfully tried to defeat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.

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