DemDaily: The Veepstakes: The Contenders

April 26, 2016

With less than three months to both party's nominating conventions, the candidates are beginning their selection process for a vice-presidential running mate.

2016 Vice Presidential Selection Timeline


Source: The Bi-Partisan Policy Center

The vetting process typically starts at least eight weeks prior to the convention to allow for a thorough financial, professional and personal investigation of potential candidates.

Based on the delegate count, a party's presidential nominee is normally known prior to the convention, but 2016 is expected to be an exception - particularly on the Republican side where a contested convention may be in play.

This is also problematic for predicting the VP selection as none of the current contenders are likely to pick the same running mate.

The VP pick is essential to the success of the ultimate ticket and 2016 is no exception. While geography was, for many years, the primary factor, the internet and ability to reach voters daily online or on television with a message from or about each candidate, has changed the equation.

Major factors in the selection process:

1) Geography:  Electoral benefit to a nominee from a battleground or swing state, as well a region.  No party has ever picked a Presidential and VP ticket from the same state.

2)  Experience: The role of the VP has expanded substantively and a VP's ability to address foreign and domestic  policy issues, their Congressional relationships and years in office or profile in the public sector is an important factor.  The administrative experience of a Governor is also considered a plus.

3)  Age:  Although not always synonymous with experience, makes a difference in balancing a gender gap at the top of the ticket.

4)  Compatibility:  Together or apart on the campaign trail, the Pres and VP must be able to work together and appear to be a genuine team.  How the candidates, staff, consultants and operations assimilate is both a personal and practical consideration.

5)  Ethnicity and Gender:  A potentially critical balance to the opposing ticket's picks and platform that could swing the presidential.

6)  Ideology: A VP that is more conservative or liberal can expand the ticket's appeal to a broader voting constituency, but the team should not be ideological or publicly opposed on any major issues.

Based on our research, the current contenders:

Potential Vice Presidential Candidates

Potential Democratic VP Candidates Home State Background
Cory Booker New Jersey Senator, first term
Sherrod Brown Ohio Senator, second term
Joaquin Castro Texas Representative, first term
Julian Castro Texas Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Al Franken Minnesota Senator, second term
Kamala Harris California California Attorney General & US Senate Candidate
Tim Kaine Virginia Senator, first term
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota Senator, second term
Martin O'Malley Maryland Former: Presidential Candidate, Governor of Maryland & Mayor of Baltimore
Deval Patrick Massachusetts Former Governor
Thomas Perez New York Secretary of Labor
Mark Warner Virginia Senator, second term
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senator, first term


Potential Republican VP Candidates Home State Background
Kelly Ayotte New Hampshire Senator, first term
Charlie Baker Massachusetts Governor, first term
Dr. Ben Carson Michigan Neurosurgeon & former Presidential Candidate
Chris Christie New Jersey Governor, second term & former Presidential Candidate
Carly Fiorina Texas Former Hewlett Packard CEO & former Presidential Candidate
Nikki Haley South Carolina Governor, second term
Bill Haslam Tennessee Governor, second term
Susana Martinez New Mexico Governor, second term
Rob Portman Ohio Senator, first term
Jeff Sessions Alabama Senator, fourth term
John Thune South Dakota Senator, second term

We will see if tonight's primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island bring the parties any closer to their nominees!

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Kimberly Scott



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