News from the Votemaster
Fairfax county supervisor Gerald Connolly won the Democratic primary in VA-11 yesterday. He will challenge rich businessman Keith Fimian for the seat being vacated by retiring congressman Tom Davis (R). This is a swing district in northern Virginia's rapid growing Democratic suburbs and will be an all-out fight.
Let's continue yesterday's discussion of former Veep nominees. Here is the table again.
In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a moderate southern governor wanted to balance his ticket so he picked a progresive senator from the North, Walter Mondale (D-MN). This was the classic way to do it and they won. The incumbent President, Jerry Ford, who got his job the hard way--having both the incumbent President (Richard Nixon) and Vice President (Spiro Agnew) resign, picked an experienced senator, Bob Dole (R-KS).
In 1972, Sen. George McGovern, who ran on an antiwar platform, picked Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-MO) as his running. Missouri was then, as now, a key swing state. During the campaign it came out that Eagleton had undergone electroshock therapy for depression. The country went bananas and McGovern was forced to dump Eagleton. He had trouble finding someone else and eventually came up with Sargent Shriver, ambassador to France. It wasn't an inspired pick but he was under pressure to pick someone fast. Richard Nixon chose his incumbent Veep and attack dog, Spiro Agnew.
In 1968, the Democrats has a free-for-all during the primaries, with antiwar Sen. Gene McCarthy challenging Pres. Lyndon Johnson and almost beating him in New Hampshire. This event prompted Johnson to announce he was not seeking reelection and Bobby Kennedy to enter the race. Kennedy was assassinated in June and the establishment candidate, Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the nomination. He picked a strong environmentalist, Sen. Ed Muskie (D-ME) as his running mate. The Republican candidate, Richard Nixon, who had come back from the political dead, made a strange an fateful choice. He picked the governor of Maryland, Spiro Agnew, who was totally unknown outside Maryland. As a moderate from a Democratic state, Nixon was hoping to appeal to Democrats and independents. Little did Nixon know that Agnew was a small-bore crook and would later be forced to resign the vice presidency for taking bribes.
In 1964, Lyndon Johnson a Texan, felt he needed to balance the ticket both geographically and ideologically, and chose a northern senator known as a strong progressive, Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), who gave a wildly popular convention speech attacking the Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater had just won in a tumultous and bitter primary season, defeating the moderate Nelson Rockefeller. While a pick of Rockefeller would have united the party, he passed over Rockefeller an, picked an obscure New York congressman, William Miller. Goldwater stated that he picked Miller because he drove Lyndon Johnson nuts. It was a terrible choice. He should have picked Rockefeller who had national stature and a large following.
In 1960, John Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, a person he dislike and regarded as a boorish oaf. The reason he picked Johnson was Kennedy's hope that with Johnson on the ticket, they could carry Texas, which they did. Richard Nixon, Eisenhower's Vice President, picked Henry Cabot Lodge, then ambassador to the United Nations, probably for his foreign policy experience, something Nixon lacked.
In 1956, Adlai Stevenson surprised the Democratic convention by allowing it to choose his running mate. The leading nominees were Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN), whom Stevenson had just beaten for the nomination, and a young unknown senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy. During the balloting, Kennedy came within 15 votes of winning (which gave him huge publicity) but Kefauver ultimately won. Ike chose his incumbent Veep, Richard Nixon.
In 1952, on Adlai Stevenson's first run, he chose to balance the ticket. Stevenson was a liberal governor from Illinois so he picked a segregationist senator from Alabama, John Sparkman. War hero Eisenhower, picked anticommunist attack dog Sen. Richard Nixon (R-CA) as his running mate so Ike could remain above the fray and let Nixon attack Stevenson and the Democrats as soft on Communism.
In 1948, Harry Truman, who had become President upon Roosevelt's death, was nominated at a tumultous convention in which many of the die-hard segregationist southern delegates bolted and formed their own party, usually known as the Dixiecrats. Truman tried to hang onto southern states by choosing a border state senator, Alben Barkley as his Veep. The Republican nominee, popular New York governor Thomas Dewey, picked another popular governor, Earl Warren of California as his running mate. Ideologically, both were moderates but with an easterner and a westerner, they thought they had good balance. The press decided early on that Dewey was going to be the winner and were very surprised when Truman won.
So what are the results, of the 30 Veep nominees in the past 60 years, the score is as follows, where the most recent office the candidate held is what counts.- 14 Senators
- 7 Vice presidents
- 4 Representatives
- 2 Governors
- 2 Ambassadors
- 1 CIA director
So it is most commonly a senator. However, this year, unlike all but one of the previous 60 years (1960) we have senators as the nominees. Will a senator be willing to pick another senator? Anything is possible. In 1960, both Kennedy and Johnson were senators and they won, so there is some precedent.
The Libertarian party declined to nominate Francis Powers, Jr. to run in NY-13. They picked Susan Overeem instead, so we won't get Powers, Sr. vs. Powers, Jr. in this Staten Island based district but it will still be an interesting race.
Here are today's polls.
-- The Votemaster