Veepstakes describes the quadrennial process in which candidates for
President of the United Statesselect a running mate. If the ticket wins, the running mate becomes the Vice President of the United Statesand first in line to the presidency.
The phrase was originally used in the Hotline political newsletter during the 1988 presidential campaign.
Once the Republican Party and the Democratic Party choose their presumptive nominees for the election, the candidates themselves choose their running mates. Running mates are heavily vetted before being announced in the weeks prior to the party national convention. The selection of a running mate is given considerable attention because the individual chosen can be seen to broaden the ticket's appeal by complementing and balancing its strengths, ideologically, geographically, and with respect to credentials on either foreign or domestic policy.
Occasionally, the running mate is chosen from the pool of candidates who also ran in the primary, as was the case in 1960 with
John F. Kennedychoosing Lyndon B. Johnson, 1980 with Ronald Reaganchoosing George H. W. Bush, and in 2004 with John Kerrypicking John Edwards.
In 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy of
Massachusettswon the nomination, he chose Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texasin an effort to win that state's critical electoral votes and enhance his appeal in the South.
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