Ann Romney for Senate?
The idea is being seriously bandied about by some Bay State Republicans, still smarting from Scott Brown's decision not to make a run for the seat being vacated by John Kerry.
Ann Romney's inspiring battle against multiple sclerosis and her star turn on the GOP convention stage turned her into a popular national figure, especially among women voters in Massachusetts.
"That would be a very interesting thing. I would certainly love her to think about something like that," said House Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading).
But Kaufman said Mitt's charismatic wife, who has never run for office, would be unlikely to take the plunge. "The timing is not great, and I don't think she sees herself as a candidate," he said.
Other GOP leaders also raised the prospect of Mitt's eldest son, Tagg, launching a surprise Senate campaign. Tagg Romney was a close campaign adviser and surrogate for his father and is a successful businessman living in Belmont.
The push for a Brown substitute comes as frenzied Republicans are running out of time to find someone who could raise enough money and collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.
"Obviously, it's not what anybody I talked to had hoped for ... it's daunting," Jones said.
"Our bench isn't too deep," added Rob Willington, a former Massachusetts Republican Party executive director who's worked with both the Brown and Romney campaigns.
Without someone such as Ann Romney, most Republicans agree the strongest candidate would be former Gov. William F. Weld, who just moved back to Massachusetts and hasn't ruled out another run for office. Weld did not return messages, but sources close to him said he has "no interest" in running.
This reminds me of the scramble by Illinois Republicans following the scandal and eventual withdrawal of their nominee for Senate in 2004, Jack Ryan. GOP leaders were casting about frantically for a candidate, asking former governors, celebrities, even the sainted former coach of the Bears Mike Ditka.
Eventually, Maryland resident Alan Keyes was made the sacrificial lamb against Barack Obama. The rest is history.
It's not an impossible task, but any candidate that emerges from the GOP primary is going to need some help by way of scandal or political disaster for the Republican to triumph in the June 25 special election.