John Kerry presidential campaign VP selection process

John Kerry presidential campaign VP selection process

This article discusses the John Kerry presidential campaign vice-president selection process that began after Kerry became the presumptive Democratic Party candidate for president of the United States of America in the 2004 election campaign.

"For the article describing Kerry's campaign, see John Kerry presidential campaign, 2004."

Kerry announced on July 6, 2004 that his choice for running mate was Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. The discussion of the possibilities is preserved below for historical interest:

V.P. possibilities

Some of the candidates mentioned as potential picks included the following individuals currently holding high political offices:


*Gov. Mike Easley - North Carolina
*Gov. Joe Kernan - Indiana
*Gov. Janet Napolitano - Arizona
*Gov. Ed Rendell - Pennsylvania
*Gov. Tom Vilsack - Iowa
*Gov. Mark Warner - Virginia
*Gov. Bill Richardson - New Mexico
** Richardson, who is Hispanic, was widely regarded as a leading contender for the vice-presidential slot before he denied interest during a March 7, 2004, appearance on "Meet the Press"; When elected governor, he promised the citizens of New Mexico that he would serve his entire term. He went on to endorse Richard A. "Dick" Gephardt for the slot. Some pundits still regarded Richardson as a possibility.


*Sen. Evan Bayh - Indiana; Former Governor of Indiana
*Sen. Joe Biden - Delaware; Stated he was not interested in the position, and suggested John McCain for the VP spot
*Sen. John Breaux - Louisiana
*Sen. Mary Landrieu - Louisiana
*Sen. Dick Durbin - Illinois
*Sen. Jay Rockefeller - West Virignia
*Sen. Blanche Lincoln - Arkansas
*Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - New York
*Sen. John McCain - Arizona; even though McCain is a Republican, he was heavily vetted by Kerry as a Kerry/McCain ticket was seen as unbeatable. McCain denied and supported his prior rival, President George W. Bush


Some recently retired figures who still have an important place on the national stage were also considered to be in the running:

* Former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart (Colorado) - Hart was an informal foreign policy advisor to Kerry during his campaign.
* Former U.S. Sen. J. Robert Kerrey (Neb.)
* Former U.S. Sen. Samuel A. Nunn (Ga.)
* Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin

Kerry selected a vice presidential candidate from among former challengers for the Democratic nomination:

*Sen. John R. Edwards - North Carolina, the last major rival to Kerry during the primary season. Political pundits had openly speculated for months that Edwards's campaign was simply an "audition for vice-president." Edwards's campaign refused to actively criticize fellow Democratic challengers, including Kerry, and Edwards' concession speech upon withdrawing from the race spoke highly of Kerry.
* Gen. Wesley K. Clark (ret.) - Arkansas
* Former Gov. Howard Dean - Vermont
* Rep. Richard Gephardt - Missouri
* Sen. Bob Graham - Florida; Former Governor of Florida

Some moderate or maverick Republicans were also mentioned, especially U.S. Sen. John S. McCain III (Ariz.). McCain caused widespread speculation by suggesting in April 2004 that he might consider an offer from Kerry, although he later claimed that was not a serious comment, and that he supports Bush's reelection. A May 2004 poll showing a Kerry-McCain pairing with a 14% lead over a Bush-Cheney ticket [] further fueled speculation, reportedly leading to serious overtures from Kerry inviting McCain to join the ticket. However, McCain reportedly personally refused the overtures [] , laying most further speculation to rest.

Other Republicans that were occasionally mentioned as potential running mates include:

* U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), although this was highly unlikely due to major support he received from George W. Bush during his Republican primary in Pennsylvania.
* U.S. Sen. Charles T. "Chuck" Hagel (Neb.)
* William S. Cohen, who served as a Republican U.S. senator from Maine, but was U.S. defense secretary under Democratic President William J. Clinton
* U.S Sen. Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island)
* Former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman (New Hampshire)

Ineligible VP choices

The following mentioned choices are ineligible to be Vice President because they are ineligible to be President (the 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States").

* Former President William J. Clinton (ineligible because he had already served two terms as president)
* U.S. Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (Tenn.) (ineligible because he would not have been 35 years of age by Inauguration Day)
* Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm (ineligible because she was born in Canada)

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