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View Full Version : Can the incumbent vice-president run be a presidential candidate in the next election?



smellycat6464
07-06-2014, 12:18 PM
I have a feeling the answer is obvious, so I apologize in advance--I promise I did some homework before posting. Politics just...escapes me.

In my story, the President is killed in the first chapter, which is already near the end of his term. A major arc of the overall story from there on out involves two candidates, Darien and Ashlyn, in a ruthless race for presidency.

Now, of course, the vice would take the reigns until the elections. However, I don't want the vice to me some random person that's just there to make things politically accurate. In the interest of keeping the cast volume as low as possible, I wanted to fuse the two characters by making Darien the vice president, too.

He isn't a very nice person, and his assholery is supposed to ignite the political environment--I think the conflict would surge to the max if he was given the seat and started abusing the power.

It is critical, though, that he runs against Ashlyn in this race.

But, he wasn't nominated at his party's national convention...I mean, I could make it so that would happen in a sentence or two, but is that realistic? Could he be eligible? Wouldn't he be too busy with his other governmental duties?

If my wikipedia'ing is correct, the call for nomination goes out 18 months in advance of the election, so if Darien is to run, he would have to express that desire 2.5 years into his vice-presidency, right?

I hope I was clear, thanks in advance!

cornflake
07-06-2014, 12:44 PM
I have a feeling the answer is obvious, so I apologize in advance--I promise I did some homework before posting. Politics just...escapes me.

In my story, the President is killed in the first chapter, which is already near the end of his term. A major arc of the overall story from there on out involves two candidates, Darien and Ashlyn, in a ruthless race for presidency.

Now, of course, the vice would take the reigns until the elections. However, I don't want the vice to me some random person that's just there to make things politically accurate. In the interest of keeping the cast volume as low as possible, I wanted to fuse the two characters by making Darien the vice president, too.

He isn't a very nice person, and his assholery is supposed to ignite the political environment--I think the conflict would surge to the max if he was given the seat and started abusing the power.

It is critical, though, that he runs against Ashlyn in this race.

But, he wasn't nominated at his party's national convention...I mean, I could make it so that would happen in a sentence or two, but is that realistic? Could he be eligible? Wouldn't he be too busy with his other governmental duties?

If my wikipedia'ing is correct, the call for nomination goes out 18 months in advance of the election, so if Darien is to run, he would have to express that desire 2.5 years into his vice-presidency, right?

I hope I was clear, thanks in advance!

I'm assuming you're not American - and one part of your question confuses me - so I'm overexplaining.

Lots and lots of vice presidents have run for president. It's fairly well expected, except in specific circumstances, that the vice wlll run if the president has served two terms.

I'm not sure what you mean by the call for nomination going out 18 months in advance of the election. Primaries are at the beginning of the year and getting on the ballots depends by state.

frimble3
07-06-2014, 03:56 PM
I'm not an American, but if a President can run for President while being President, (which is how they get that second term in office), I can think of no reason that a Vice-President can't do the same.

Marlys
07-06-2014, 04:43 PM
I'm a little confused. When you say "the vice would take the reins until the elections" and you want Darien to be the vice-president, do you mean Darien is the vice-president when the president gets killed? In that case, he wouldn't be just "taking the reins," he would become president on the former president's assassination. So then he would be running for president as the incumbent, not as a vice-president.

Unless you mean Darien is the new president's vice-president? In that case, while it's possible he could run for president, that would only make sense if the new president does not want to run, as he would be the party's first choice.

LJD
07-06-2014, 05:26 PM
Al Gore did it. So did Bush Sr. So I don't see why it wouldn't be possible...

Cyia
07-06-2014, 06:14 PM
After an assassination, the VP takes over. S/he is now the incumbent. S/he does NOT remain the Vice President, if that's what you're thinking when you say "takes the reins until." They're sworn in as president on the spot. (Johnson was sworn in on the plane from Texas, with President Kennedy's coffin beside him in the cabin; it doesn't take long.

Assuming s/he's not served half (or more) of the previous president's term, then s/he is free to run for up to two terms of office should s/he wish to do so. If s/he HAS served half (or more) of the previous president's term, then s/he may only run for one term.

As the incumbent, s/he is his/her party's candidate - no primary for that slot, so if your two adversaries are the same political party, they won't be running for the nomination. Since your former president died "near the end" of his term, that means your adversary would already have to be her party's candidate in order to run against your VP-turned-incumbent. Presidential nominations are decided many, many months in advance, not near the end.

Also, keep age in mind. "Ashlyn" is a fairly new name. You *might* get a candidate in their mid-late 30's with that name, but someone older isn't likely.

Vito
07-06-2014, 06:25 PM
You might want to look into the 1976 Republican Party presidential campaign season, since it involved some of the elements in your story:

1. A candidate who succeeded to the presidency -- former vice president Gerald Ford, who took office in 1974 after President Richard Nixon resigned. Generally, Ford was supported by the moderate wing of the Republican Party, and by some members of the (now, mostly defunct) liberal faction of the party.

2. A fight for the nomination between Ford and his challenger, former California governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan represented the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which never quite warmed to Gerald Ford and (especially) his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

3. Ford and Reagan competed in the Republican primary elections during the first several months of 1976. Ford came out on top, but he still had not won enough delegates to secure the nomination. So he and Reagan battled again to win uncommitted delegates at the Republican National Convention in August of that year.

As you know, Ford earned the nomination but lost the presidential election to the Democratic party's nominee, Jimmy Carter, in November 1976. Reagan, of course, went on to win the presidency in 1980 and 1984.

:Lecture:

Cyia
07-06-2014, 06:28 PM
The difference there is that Ford was never elected president - or Vice President. He held the office as a non-elected official.

He was put into office by Nixon, who he then succeeded, after the previous VP resigned. He'd never been nominated by the Republican party, so he wasn't supported by the party.

Vito
07-06-2014, 07:15 PM
The difference there is that Ford was never elected president - or Vice President. He held the office as a non-elected official.

He was put into office by Nixon, who he then succeeded, after the previous VP resigned. He'd never been nominated by the Republican party, so he wasn't supported by the party.

Yes, Ford succeeded to the Vice Presidency after Spiro Agnew resigned from office in late 1973 -- but I kept my chronology and description as simple as possible, for the benefit of the original poster.

Regarding your point about Ford not being "supported by the party": Keep in mind that he had served as a Republican member of the House of Representatives for almost 25 years, including eight years as the Republican minority leader there, before he became Vice President. That means his constituents in Michigan had elected and re-elected him as their representative a dozen times since 1948, and that his colleagues in Congress had chosen him to be their spokesman/leader. So it's clear that he actually did have the support of a large number of Republicans through the years, which is why (and how) he ended up being his party's presidential candidate in 1976, despite Ronald Reagan's challenge in the primaries and at the convention.

I hope all of this is helpful to the original poster...

benbenberi
07-06-2014, 08:04 PM
As the incumbent, s/he is his/her party's candidate - no primary for that slot, so if your two adversaries are the same political party, they won't be running for the nomination.

Not necessarily so. In 1980 when Jimmy Carter was running for re-election, he had to face down a very serious primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. (But many people think that fatally weakened him in the real campaign against Reagan, so that sort of thing has become kind of taboo.)


Also, keep age in mind. "Ashlyn" is a fairly new name. You *might* get a candidate in their mid-late 30's with that name, but someone older isn't likely.

And a person has to be at least 35 years old to be eligible to be president.

smellycat6464
07-06-2014, 08:24 PM
Thanks everyone! The discussion has been most enlightening and has given me a very comprehensive look into this intricate process :)

ironmikezero
07-06-2014, 08:31 PM
Actually it's 35...

Article Two (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_Two_of_the_United_States_Constitution), Section 1 of the United States Constitution sets forth the eligibility requirements for serving as President of the United States:

No person except a natural born Citizen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_born_citizen), or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

benbenberi
07-06-2014, 08:35 PM
But, he wasn't nominated at his party's national convention...I mean, I could make it so that would happen in a sentence or two, but is that realistic?

A vice-president becomes vice-president in one of 2 ways:

(1) s/he is chosen as a running mate by a presidential candidate at their party's nominating convention, endorsed by the convention (generally a pro forma step in modern times), and they win the election.

(2) the vice president originally elected with the president leaves office for some reason (Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973, & it's possible a vice president could die in office) and the president nominates a replacement vice president, who is confirmed by the Senate.

In 1974, when Nixon resigned, he was succeeded as president by Gerald Ford, whom he had named vice president after Agnew resigned, and Ford named Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president -- thus, for 2 years, neither the press. nor the vice had been elected by the whole country, but both had been confirmed in office by the Senate. Had Ford died in office, Rockefeller would have become president in turn.

The Constitution has established a clear line of succession (from Pres. to Vice Pres. to the various Cabinet members & others in a defined sequence), so there's never any question who's next up. And whoever the president is gets to pick their own vice-president.


Could he be eligible? Wouldn't he be too busy with his other governmental duties?
A vice president is always eligible to run for president, unless they have already served a full term and more than half of their predecessor's original term. I don't think it's legal to have a vice president who doesn't meet the other qualifications for president (e.g. age, native birth). Presidents in their first term always run for re-election, and sitting vice-presidents often do. And when they're not running themselves, they're usually actively supporting the campaigns of other people in other elections. It's what they do.


If my wikipedia'ing is correct, the call for nomination goes out 18 months in advance of the election, so if Darien is to run, he would have to express that desire 2.5 years into his vice-presidency, right?


What is this "call for nomination" you speak of? American elections occur on a regular schedule, and no formal "call" is required -- everyone knows when it's going to happen, and planning for the next election cycle begins pretty much as soon as the results come in on the last one. These days, active campaigning for a presidential nomination seems to start approx. 2 years out (after the last major mid-term election), but preparations begin a lot earlier than that -- a national campaign requires a national organization with lots and lots of local volunteers, and a LOT of fundraising before it even gets off the ground. If Darien waits till 18 months before the election to get started, he's already way behind in the game. Realistically, he should begin to lay the groundwork (lining up key campaign advisers, consultants, & fundraisers) within his first month in office, and keep the election in mind with every decision and speech he makes as president. It's what they do.

ULTRAGOTHA
07-06-2014, 09:20 PM
As the incumbent, s/he is his/her party's candidate - no primary for that slot, so if your two adversaries are the same political party, they won't be running for the nomination.

As Benbenberi pointed out, this is not true in the United States. There are always primaries during election years in the party of the current president. We had a full slate of Democratic primaries in 2012 and a formal nomination of President Obama at the Democratic National Convention. John Wolf, Jr, a Democrat from Tennessee, ran against President Obama. As is usual when running against an incumbent President at the primary level, he lost.

In 2004 no Republicans ran against George W Bush; but we still had a full slate of primaries and a formal nomination of President Bush at the GOP National Convention.

So Ashlyn *could* run against President Darien even in their own party. But would be unlikely to win and it's a bit of a dumb decision, IMO.



Since your former president died "near the end" of his term, that means your adversary would already have to be her party's candidate in order to run against your VP-turned-incumbent. Presidential nominations are decided many, many months in advance, not near the end.

This is a very good point. How near the end of his term did the former president die? If it was more than a year, then the other party probably doesn't yet have a candidate nominated. If it was in the summer before the general election, then Ashlyn would already be the nominee of the other party.

Successful presidential candidates in the US are almost invariably Governors of states or US Senators. Just to keep that in mind about Candidate Ashlyn. Most of the time they are *current* Governors or Senators.

King Neptune
07-07-2014, 04:36 PM
I'm not an American, but if a President can run for President while being President, (which is how they get that second term in office), I can think of no reason that a Vice-President can't do the same.

If the President dies in office, then the VIce President is sworn in as President. That he was not elected as President makes no difference after that. The President, who was VP, can run for President the same as anyone else.

If this is central to your story, then you should become intimately familiar with the procedures both Constitutionally required and customary. If you don't wwant to describe the system, then be very vague; most people don't understand how the U.S. elects Presidents anyway.

An important part of the process is done in each state, where there is a slate of electors. If your character is running as an independent, then he will need to recruit electors. The established parties have a slightly simpler requirement.

robjvargas
07-07-2014, 05:20 PM
Here's a point of trivia: We have one President who was not elected. Nor was he elected as Vice President.

Gerald R. Ford.

Gerald Ford was appointed to Vice-President by Richard Nixon after Spiro Agnew was forced out. Then, when Nixon resigned, he was automatically sworn in as President.

All elected officers (just about) are given leeway to campaign on their own behalf. Even if for another position. I think Hillary Clinton resigned her Senate seat, but she didn't have to (that I know of).

WeaselFire
07-07-2014, 05:46 PM
But, he wasn't nominated at his party's national convention...I mean, I could make it so that would happen in a sentence or two, but is that realistic?
Not an issue, assuming the now-dead President was nominated. Otherwise you'd have a third candidate in the race, with the backing of the party. That would leave the sitting VP pretty much in third place.

The President can serve two terms before having to leave. If killed in his first term, after being nominated by the party for running for a second term, the party would simply meet and select a new candidate.

FWIW, Presidential assassinations are really uncommon and you would have to really write a plausible scenario for it. A president dying in office for other reasons might be more believable. And, potentially, more dramatic.

Jeff

ULTRAGOTHA
07-07-2014, 07:37 PM
It is, alas, just as common in the US for a President to be assassinated than it is for him to die in office. Of the eight Presidents who died in office, four were assassinated (Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John Kennedy) and four died of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, pneumonia; Zachary Taylor, gastorenteritis; Warren Harding, heart attack; and Franklin Roosevelt, cerebral hemorrhage).

I'd say assassination is actually more likely than dying of natural causes as there were attempted assasinations of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln (before Booth), William Taft, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman (twice), Richard Nixon (twice), Gerald Ford (twice), Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton (four times), George W Bush, and Barak Obama (three or four times, depending how you count).

King Neptune
07-07-2014, 10:24 PM
It is, alas, just as common in the US for a President to be assassinated than it is for him to die in office. Of the eight Presidents who died in office, four were assassinated (Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John Kennedy) and four died of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, pneumonia; Zachary Taylor, gastorenteritis; Warren Harding, heart attack; and Franklin Roosevelt, cerebral hemorrhage).

I'd say assassination is actually more likely than dying of natural causes as there were attempted assasinations of Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln (before Booth), William Taft, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman (twice), Richard Nixon (twice), Gerald Ford (twice), Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton (four times), George W Bush, and Barak Obama (three or four times, depending how you count).

Drop Garfield from the list of assassinations. The physicians killed him.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-doctors-killed-president-garfield/
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/books/review/destiny-of-the-republic-by-candice-millard-book-review.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

ULTRAGOTHA
07-07-2014, 11:35 PM
It's derailing the topic; but I'd say that dying of complications after being shot twice, even if the doctors were incompetent, counts as an assasination.

He didn't die of doctors mis-handling a normal infection.