7 VPs who were never presidential nominees from Biden to Quayle

Which former United States vice presidents never received a presidential nomination?

A total of fourteen vice presidents went on to serve in America’s top job including Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson. Many more received their party’s nominations, but lost in the general election such as Al Gore, Richard Nixon (the first-time round in 1960) and Hubert Humphrey. But which US vice presidents never received their party’s nomination?

1. Joe Biden

Biden ran for the Democratic party’s nomination on numerous occasions and lost before eventually becoming Barack Obama’s running-mate in 2008. Many speculated that Biden would run in for the nomination in 2016, but in the end he declared that he would not seek the nomination.

In October 2015, Guardian reported that he said:

“I’ve said all along that it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president.”

His decision followed the death of his son earlier in the year.

2. Dick Cheney

Cheney served as George W. Bush’s VP between 2001 and 2009. Before becoming vice president, Cheney served as President Gerald Ford’s chief of staff, a US House of Representatives Wyoming senator for ten years, and the country’s 17th defence secretary under George H. W Bush.

The Washington Times reported in 2005 that this Bush ally said:

“I’m not running for president in ‘08” and that "Four years from now, I don’t plan to be here.”

3. Dan Quayle

This Republican and former senator from Indiana served as George H. W Bush’s VP between 1989 and 1993. He remained Bush’s running-mate at the 1992 election, but lost to the Democrat’s Clinton-Gore ticket.

According to the New York Times, Quayle was seen as a possible candidate in the 1996 election but surprised pundits by leaving the race in early 1995.

The Times reported that he said at the time:

"We were convinced that a winning campaign could have been accomplished and the necessary funds could have been raised”, and that, "However, we chose to put our family first, and to forego the disruption to our lives that a third straight national campaign would create."

4. Nelson Rockefeller

After Watergate, Richard Nixon resigned and was replaced by his Vice President Gerald Ford. Once president, Ford picked former New York governor and billionaire Nelson Rockefeller to be his vice president. Then, in the 1976 election, Ford replaced Rockefeller with the more conservative Bob Dole. His role as vice president was his last spell in public office.

5. Spiro Agnew

Spiro Agnew was Richard Nixon’s first vice president, but stepped down in 1973 soon into Nixon’s second term due to a criminal investigation. This former Governor of Maryland never sought public office again.

6. Alben W. Barkley

This Democratic vice president was picked as Harry S. Truman’s running-mate for the 1948 election. The pair beat Thomas E. Dewey and served as VP for four years. Truman was a second full-term in the 1952 primary, but lost out. Barkley did not run for the position.

7. Henry A. Wallace

This Democrat and former Secretary of State of Agriculture was FDR’s second vice president, but became Secretary of State of Commerce following his removal from the ticket for the 1944 election. Then in 1948, Wallace became a presidential nominee…but not for the Democrats. He was chosen as the Progressive’s nominee and won just 2.37% of the vote.

What about Mike Pence?

As stated, fourteen VPs have gone on to become United States president. Could Mike Pence be one of them? Pence is currently the second favourite to become president after the 2020 election, according to Oddschecker. There are three main paths for Pence to win his party's nomination.

He could win the 2024 Republican nomination after two terms of Donald Trump. He could win the 2024 Republican nomination after Trump is defeated in 2020. In such a situation, Pence would be seen as a front-runner. Another path is that if Trump had to leave the presidency early, Pence would become president and would be the presumptive nominee in 2020. The final option is that Trump could be forced not to run for for president in 2020 and Pence - with the bonus of being an incumbent - could be picked as a Republican unity candidate.