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This article discusses John Kerry's presidential campaign's vice-presidential candidate 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.
Vice presidential candidate possibilities
Some of the candidates mentioned as potential picks included the following individuals who held high political offices:
- Gov. Phil Bredesen - Tennessee
- Gov. Jim Doyle - Wisconsin
- Gov. Mike Easley - North Carolina
- Gov. Joe Kernan - Indiana
- Gov. Gary Locke - Washington
- Gov. James E. McGreevey - New Jersey
- Gov. Janet Napolitano - Arizona
- Gov. Ed Rendell - Pennsylvania
- Gov. Bill Richardson - New Mexico
- Gov. Kathleen Sebelius - Kansas
- Gov. Tom Vilsack - Iowa
- Gov. Mark Warner - Virginia
- Evan Bayh - Indiana; Former Governor of Indiana
- Joe Biden - Delaware
- John Breaux - Louisiana
- Hillary Clinton - New York
- Jon S. Corzine - New Jersey
- Tom Daschle - South Dakota
- Dick Durbin - Illinois
- Russ Feingold - Wisconsin
- Dianne Feinstein - California
- Bob Graham - Florida
- Mary Landrieu - Louisiana
- Joe Lieberman - Connecticut; Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000
- Blanche Lincoln - Arkansas
- John McCain - Arizona; although McCain was a Republican, he was heavily vetted by Kerry as a Kerry/McCain ticket was seen as potentially unbeatable. McCain declined and supported his prior rival, President George W. Bush
- Bill Nelson - Florida
- Jay Rockefeller - West Virginia
- Debbie Stabenow - Michigan
Some recently retired figures who still had an important place on the national stage were also considered to be in the running:
- Newsman Tom Brokaw - (New York)
- Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland (Georgia)
- Former U.S. Sen. John Glenn (Ohio)
- Former U.S. Representative Lee H. Hamilton (Indiana)
- 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 (Nebraska)
- Former U.S. Sen. Samuel A. Nunn (Georgia)
- Former OMB Director Franklin Raines - (New York)
- Former Governor Ann Richards - (Texas)
- Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin
- Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen - (New Hampshire)
- Former U.S. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala
- Former Marine 4-star general Anthony Zinni - (Virginia)
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.
- Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun - Illinois
- Gen. Wesley 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 McCain of Arizona. McCain caused widespread speculation by suggesting in March 2004 that he might consider an offer from Kerry, although he later claimed that was not a serious comment, and that he supported 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. Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island)
- William S. Cohen, who served as a Republican U.S. senator from Maine, but was U.S. defense secretary under Democratic President Bill Clinton
- U.S. Sen. Charles T. "Chuck" Hagel (Nebraska)
- Former U.S. Sen. Warren Rudman (New Hampshire)
- U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), although this was highly unlikely due to major support he received from George W. Bush during his Republican primary in Pennsylvania.
- "Kerry names Edwards his running mate". CNN. July 6, 2004. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Meyer, Dick (February 11, 2009). "Kerry's VP List". CBSNews.com. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Halbfinger, David M. (June 6, 2004). "THE 2004 ELECTION: THE NO. 2 SPOT; Potential Kerry Running Mates Vie to Sing His Praises Loudest". The New York Times. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Kuhnhenn, James (March 11, 2004). "Kerry-McCain 2004? Not Likely". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- "Poll: Kerry-McCain Would Beat Bush-Cheney". USA Today. Associated Press. May 27, 2004. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Sobczyk, Joe (May 16, 2004). "McCain `Categorically' Rules Out Running With Kerry". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 16, 2013.