Secretary of State
The leading candidate to be Secretary of State is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s loyal supporters.
Trump is also eyeing former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, but he’s seen as a less likely option, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker has long been mentioned as a front-runner for the job.
Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year-veteran of Goldman Sachs who now works as the chairman and chief executive of the private investment firm, Dune Capital Management, is the front-runner for the job.
Secretary of Defense
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a close Trump adviser who is taking a leading role in the president-election’s transition team, is the leading candidate for Secretary of Defense.
Former George W. Bush National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) have also been mentioned as potential candidates. Clinton’s CIA director, Jim Woolsey, is a darkhorse candidate.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump immigration adviser, is a rumored candidate for the job.
Sessions is also seen as a contender for AG.
Other possibilities: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a lawyer; and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, though the controversy over Trump’s donation to Bondi could undercut her nomination.
Trump’s presidential transition team is also eyeing venture capitalist Robert Grady, a George H. W. Bush White House official with ties to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. And Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., is said to be interested in the job.
Forrest Lucas, the 74-year-old co-founder of oil products company Lucas Oil, is also seen as a contender for Interior Secretary.
Meanwhile, a person who spoke to the Trump campaign told POLITICO that aides have also discussed tapping Sarah Palin for Interior Secretary. Trump has said he’d like to put Palin in his Cabinet, and Palin has made no secret of her interest.
Other possible candidates include: former Republican Rep. Richard Pombo, who chaired the House Natural Resources Committee from 2003 to 2007; former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer; Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin; Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis; and Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm.
There are several names being considered by Trump aides for Agriculture secretary, according to multiple sources familiar with the transition. The president elect has a deep bench to pull from with nearly 70 leaders on agricultural advisory committee.
The most controversial name on the transition’s current short list is Sid Miller, the current secretary of agriculture in Texas, who caused a firestorm just days ago after his campaign’s Twitter account referred to Clinton as a ‘c—.‘ Miller said it was a staffer mistake and apologized.
Other names include a sitting governor, Sam Brownback of Kansas, and three former governors: Dave Heineman (Nebraska), Sonny Perdue (Georgia) and Rick Perry (Texas). Also in the conversation are Charles Herbster, a Republican donor and agribusiness leader who chairs Trump’s agricultural advisory committee, and Mike McCloskey, a dairy executive in Indiana.
Bruce Rastetter, a major Republican donor in Iowa, and Kip Tom, a farmer who ran for Congress in Indiana this year but was defeated in the primary, are also among those being considered.
Other top Republican insiders expect that Chuck Connor, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, Don Villwock, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau and Ted McKinney, the current director of the Indiana Department of Agriculture in the Pence Administration, are also likely to be in the running for the post.
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, a Trump economic adviser, could fit the bill, is Trump’s leading contender for the job.
Dan DiMicco, the former CEO of steelmaker Nucor Corp and a Trump trade adviser, is another possibility, though he is expected to be tapped as U.S. Trade Representative.
People tracking the transition say Victoria Lipnic — the Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2010 who also served as an an assistant secretary of Labor for employment standards from 2002 until 2009 — is the most likely candidate for Labor Secretary. The Romney transition team reportedly also considered her for a top Labor post back in 2012.
A possible private sector pick is Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Green Burrito and Red Burrito.
Health and Human Services secretary
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee and an early Trump backer, is being considered for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is another possible candidates for the job.
Ben Carson, who had been mentioned as a possible HHS Secretary, has said he will not serve in the Trump administration.
Housing and Urban Development secretary
Trump supporters Bud Albright and Scott Keller have been reaching out to housing advocates to take their temperature on a HUD nominee.
Names being circulated include Pam Patenaude, the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and former New York Rep. Rick Lazio (R).
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who just lost reelection bid, is interested in becoming Transportation Secretary. He told POLITICO recently that he’s talked to top Trump aides about the job, adding he’s received “encouraging” signs about his candidacy.”
Other possible candidate: James Simpson, the former commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Transportation and the former head of the Federal Transit Administration during the George W. Bush administration; and Mark Rosenker, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster told POLITICO recently he’s not interested in the job.
Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm has long been seen as a leading candidate for Energy Secretary. Hamm, an Oklahoma billionaire who has been a friend of Trump’s for years, has been the leading influence on Trump’s energy policy during the campaign. But Hamm has said he plans to stay at Continental.
If Hamm passes, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), a Trump energy adviser, could be offered the job, as could venture capitalist Robert Grady, though he could also be in line for Interior.
Kristine Svinicki, the sole Republican on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is in the running for a high-level post at the Energy Department, potentially energy secretary, a source close to the Trump transition told POLITICO.
Indiana Rep. Luke Messer, a longtime school choice proponent, is a top candidate for Education Secretary. Messer told POLITICO in a recent interview that he’s open to serving in the position.
Another possibility is William Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution who has worked on education matters for the Trump transition team. Evers worked at the Education Department during the Bush administration and served as a senior adviser to then-Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.
Also in the mix: Tony Zeiss, a former president of Central Piedmont Community College, one of the largest community colleges in North Carolina. He was president for more than 20 years before retiring in July.
Sources close to Trump’s transition also pointed to two long-shot candidates: Eva Moskowitz, a Democrat who founded the Success Academy Charter Schools and has clashed with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; and Michelle Rhee, an education reform activist who formerly served as the chancellor of Washington D.C.’s, public schools.
Other potential candidates include: Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now the president of the Purdue University System; Gerard Robinson a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute focused on education policy; Tony Bennett, the former Florida Commissioner of Education and the former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Hanna Skandera, the New Mexico Secretary of Education; and education activists Betsy DeVos; and Kevin Chavous.
Veterans Affairs secretary
The name most commonly mentioned for Veterans Affairs Secretary is House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, who’s retiring from the House and was an early Trump backer.
Homeland Security secretary
House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul has said he’s interested in becoming Homeland Security Secretary. “I’ve expressed my interest, and I think the process is taking place,” McCaul told POLITICO recently.
Another potential pick: Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s transportation security panel.
A long-shot candidate: David Clarke, the conservative Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wis. Clarke has cultivated a devoted following on the right, and he spoke at the Republican National Convention in Ohio, declaring, “Blue lives matter.” Christie is also seen as a possible DHS secretary.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator
Candidates for EPA Administrator include Mike Catanzaro, a George W. Bush-era EPA official and energy adviser to former-House Speaker John Boehner who is a top official on Trump’s transition team; Jeff Holmstead, another former Bush EPA official; and Venture capitalist Robert Grady, who was an environmental adviser for George H.W. Bush.
Myron Ebell, a climate skeptic who is running the EPA working group on Trump’s transition team, is also seen as a possibility to lead the agency. Ebell, an official at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has come under fire from environmental groups for his stances on global warming.
Other potential candidates: Joe Aiello is the director of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Environmental Safety and Quality Assurance; Carol Comer, the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, who was appointed by Mike Pence; and Leslie Rutledge, the attorney general of Arkansas and a lead challenger of EPA regulations in the state.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Eric Ueland, a veteran Republican Capitol Hill aide and top staffer on the Senate Budget Committee who is working on Trump’s transition team, is seen as a possible candidate to lead the OMB. Former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is also seen as a potential OMB chief.
Kathryn A. Wolfe, Bryan Bender, Jeremy Herb, Connor O’Brien, Joanne Kenen, Helena Bottemiller Evich, Ian Kullgren, Ben White, Darius Dixon, Esther Whieldon, Marianne Levine, Caitlin Emma, Jennifer Scholtes, Lauren Gardner, Lorraine Woellert, Ellen Mitchell, Rachana Pradhan, Ben Weyl and Cory Bennett.
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