Every four years, Presidential candidates pick a running mate for Vice President, and every four years, there are potential running mates who are passed over.
Sometimes, these potential running mates for Vice President may feel as they are “a bridesmaid, instead of the bride”, when they come close to being the choice more than once.
And sometimes, a potential running mate passed over sees someone else become President by succession.
Examples in the last half century are numerous!
Florida Senator Bob Graham was on the “short list” for both Bill Clinton in 1992 and Al Gore in 2000.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty made the “short list” for John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
Missouri Senator Stuart Symington was the favored choice for John F. Kennedy in 1960, but Lyndon B. Johnson was picked instead for political and sectional reasons, to gain the support of the South for Kennedy, despite his Catholicism. Of course, Johnson went on to be President.
Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy was on the “short list” to be Vice President with Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, but Hubert Humphrey was selected instead, and McCarthy went on to become a major critic of the Vietnam War, and challenge Johnson in the New Hampshire primary in 1968. Who knows whether or not Johnson might have avoided a primary challenge altogether if he had picked McCarthy in 1964, although it is still likely that Robert Kennedy would have challenged Johnson for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1968 in any case. And of course, there were rumors that Kennedy was considered by Johnson to be his running mate in 1964, which would have made it impossible for Kennedy to challenge Johnson in 1968 altogether. But then, maybe Humphrey would have done so instead, without the trap of being Vice President under Johnson!
Mayor John Lindsey of New York City was on the “short list” for Richard Nixon in 1968, and had he been on the ticket and become Vice President, he would have succeeded Nixon after the President resigned due to the Watergate scandal!
When Nixon faced having to replace Spiro Agnew in 1973, due to scandal, he considered John Connally, former Democratic Governor of Texas, but who had become a Republican and was his Treasury Secretary, as his new Vice President, but knew that there would be a battle for him to be confirmed, so Nixon picked Gerald Ford instead, and Ford became President. Connally might have been President, if he had not alienated Democrats by switching parties!
So if things had worked out differently, we might have had President Symington in 1963, President Lindsey in 1974, or President Connally in 1974, and President Johnson might have had no challenge, run and defeated Nixon in 1968!
And poor Bob Graham and Tim Pawlenty were passed over twice each, by two different candidates for President in their parties! Graham never had another opportunity, and Pawlenty will not, either!