The nomination process for US presidential candidates favors incumbents. This seems also to be true for Vice Presidents (e.g. George H. W. Bush, Gore). Have any Vice Presidents not been nominated although they ran tried to be?

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    Well, Vice President Millard Fillmore became President on the death of Zachary Taylor and then was not renominated by his party for President after that term ended (I think he's the last - only? - sitting President to not be nominated for another term). Does that count?
    – Jurp
    Oct 26, 2020 at 22:50
  • @Jurp Intersting but I'm looking for the chance of a sitting Vice President to get nominated. Oct 26, 2020 at 22:51
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    Pretty trivial to answer just by looking at the wikipedia list of vice presidents who ran Oct 26, 2020 at 22:59
  • Seventeen vice presidents ran. Twelve were nominated. Five won. Note that two ran twice. Nixon lost, then won. Humphrey lost twice. Dan Quayle is the most recent to lose the nomination and as @jurp notes in an answer, Alben Barkley is the last sitting vice president to fail to be nominated. Oct 26, 2020 at 23:06
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    @bof Thanks. That's correct. Arthur never mounted a serious campaign for the nomination. According to Wikipedia: "He kept up a token effort, believing that to drop out would cast doubt on his actions in office and raise questions about his health, but by the time the convention began in June, his defeat was assured." I believe this makes Arthur the last sitting President to not be renominated.
    – Jurp
    Oct 27, 2020 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


The most recent sitting VP not nominated while running for President was Alben Barkley, Truman's VP. He was passed over for a younger man (Adlai Stevenson) in 1952.

Also Thomas R. Marshall, Wilson's VP (1920). In the 19th century, the Vice Presidency was considered as spot for "has-beens and never-wases".

  • Do you have a reference for "has-beens and never-wases"?
    – sds
    Oct 29, 2020 at 1:03
  • @sds The phrase appears in a 1999 biography of the Stevenson family called 'The Stevensons, an American Family' by Jean Baker. Here's the relevant page; books.google.com/… The phrase is much older and is used in context with the 1892 election (see wikipedia).
    – Jurp
    Oct 29, 2020 at 2:53

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