THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Published: 06 May 2012 07:26 PM

When it comes to Internet prominence, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stands out as a potential running mate for Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

So says a survey by PeekYou, a company specializing in online people searches. PeekYou recently ranked possible GOP vice presidential candidates based on how often they’re mentioned on the Web, the amount of Web content they generate, their participation in social networks and other factors.

The candidates were ranked 1 to 10, with Christie scoring highest. Coming in second was former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

The other candidates, in order of finish, were: ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal; Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Sarah Palin, the GOP’s veep nominee in 2008, didn’t make the cut.

CAMPAIGN AID

Speaking of Romney, the former Massachusetts governor lost a key strategist last week, when Richard Grenell stepped down from his post as the campaign’s foreign policy spokesman on what was supposed to be his first day on the job.

Grenell, who is gay, came under criticism from some conservatives, who felt he was too outspoken in his support for same-sex marriage. He blamed his departure on the “hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues” swirling about the presidential race.

Romney’s loss would appear to be Inland Rep. Mary Bono Mack’s gain. The Palm Springs Republican announced via Twitter that Grenell “is coming back to his home in Palm Springs & has offered to help with my campaign,” before adding, “That’s terrific.”

Marc Troast, Bono Mack’s campaign manager, said Grenell will not have an official role with the campaign, but rather has offered to lend his support as a volunteer. Troast said the campaign isn’t worried about the criticism that led to Grenell’s resignation from the Romney camp, and pointed to his years of experience as a communications strategist, including a stretch in the George W. Bush administration.

“He’s a conservative, leading voice on foreign policy,” Troast said.

Inland newshounds might also remember Grenell as a spokesman for developer Jeff Burum, who is now facing criminal charges as part of San Bernardino County’s ongoing corruption scandal.

POKER SPLITS TRIBES

An influential tribal group that includes several Inland Southern California members recently poured some cold water on state Senate legislation that would legalize online poker and, perhaps, more games in the future.

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