A candidate is the prospective recipient of an award or honor or a person seeking or being considered for some kind of position; for example:

"Nomination" is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office, or the bestowing of an honor or award. "Presumptive nominee" is a term used when a person or organization believes that the nomination is inevitable. The act of being a candidate in a race is called a "candidacy."

"Candidate" is a derivative of the Latin "candida" (white). In Ancient Rome, people running for political office would usually wear togas chalked and bleached to be bright white at speeches, debates, conventions, and other public functions.


Candidates in elections

In the context of elections for public office in a representational partisan democracy, a candidate who has been selected by a political party is normally said to be the nominee of that party. The party's selection (that is, the nomination) is typically accomplished either based on one or more primary elections according to the rules of the party and any applicable election laws.

Candidates are either incumbents, if they are already serving in the office for which they are seeking re-election, challengers, if they are seeking to unseat an incumbent, or are simply candidates for an open seat, an elective office for which no incumbent is seeking re-election.

In the context of elections for public office in a direct democracy, a candidate can be In some non-partisan representative systems (e.g., administrative elections of the Bahá'í Faith), no nominations (or campaigning, electioneering, etc.) take place at all, with voters free to choose any person at the time of voting--with some possible exceptions such as through a minimum age requirement--in the jurisdiction. In such cases, it is not required (or even possible) that the members of the electorate be familiar with all of the eligible persons in their area, though such systems may involve indirect elections at larger geographic levels to ensure that some first-hand familiarity among potential electees can exist at these levels (i.e., among the elected delegates).

A person may also be directly nominated for a post without having to be elected.

Presumed advantages of nominations

  • Although a nominee need not have sought appointment himself or herself (presumably the existence of a system of nominating others implies that a person desiring the position would not (or could not) necessarily seek out a post themselves), nominations frequently occur in the context of elections with the active awareness of the nominee. An awareness beforehand of the willingness of the would-be candidate to accept the post might be seen as at least a time-saving advantage and an indicator of their confidence in being able to handle the job (if not a minimal indicator in their competence to handle the job).
  • Having a narrowed down set of choices would allow people to study the positions, character, etc. of the nominated choices before making their choice.

Presumed disadvantages of nominations

  • The nomination process may limit the choices open to the voters at the time of voting.
  • The limited number of choices may lead to voter disenfranchisement and lackluster participation.
  • Nominations (and the often associated electioneering and campaigning) are seen to more often elect self-aggrandizing, self-seeking, and deal-making individuals, instead of humble, selfless, and conscience-voting/independent-minded persons. As such, some often less assertive or media-shy (yet potentially capable) groups such as women, certain ethnic groups, or skilled technocrats may tend to be overlooked in such a process, especially when the nomination process is allowed to be followed by campaigning.

Presumptive nominee

The presumptive nominee, in the politics of the United States, is the candidate who has not yet received the official nomination of their political party at the party's nominating convention, but who is the undisputed front-runner and is widely, or even unanimously, presumed to be the candidate that party will nominate. The term is applied widely on the national level, notably in regard to the U.S. presidential nominating conventions and the statewide level.

A candidate may be considered a presumptive nominee after all other major competitors have dropped out and it is considered unlikely that the candidate will withdraw, be usurped, or be otherwise removed from the race. Alternatively, in presidential elections, a candidate may be deemed the presumptive nominee after having accumulated enough delegate commitments through the primary elections and caucuses to be virtually assured of the eventual nomination at the convention.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Wiessler, David (March 4, 2008) "FACTBOX: Presidential political terms", Retrieved December 1, 2009.

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