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Favorite son

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Favorite son (or favorite daughter) is a political term.

  • At the quadrennial American national political party conventions, a state delegation sometimes nominates a presidential candidate from the state, or less often from the state's region, who is not a viable candidate in the view of other delegations, and votes for this candidate in the initial ballot. The technique allows state leaders to negotiate with leading candidates in exchange for the delegation's support in subsequent ballots.[1]
Serious candidates usually, but not always, avoided campaigning in favorite sons' states. If a party's leader in a state, usually the governor, was unsure of whom to support, as the favorite son the state party could avoid disputes. Conversely, a party leader who has chosen a candidate might become a favorite son to keep other candidates' campaigns out of the state,[2][1] or prevent a rival local politician from becoming a favorite son.[3] The favorite son may explicitly state that the candidacy is not viable,[4] or that the favorite son is not a candidate at all.[1] The favorite son may hope to receive the vice-presidential nomination,[4] Cabinet post or other job, increase support for the favorite son's region or policies,[5] or just the publicity from being nominated at the convention.[2]
The technique was widely used in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[5] Since nationwide campaigns by candidates and binding primary elections have replaced brokered conventions, the technique has fallen out of use,[2][6] as party rule changes in the early 1970s required candidates to have nominations from more than one state.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "How 'Favorite Son' Politics Works". The Pittsburgh Press. January 12, 1928 – via Google News Archive Search.
  2. ^ a b c "No Demo Favorite Sons". The Deseret News. UPI. September 20, 1971. pp. 5A – via Google News Archive Search.
  3. ^ a b Meiklejohn, Don (July 3, 1960). "Favorite Son Idea is Devised to Put State in Strong Position at Convention". Ocala Star-Banner. Perry News Services. p. 22 – via Google News Archive Search.
  4. ^ a b c "Smathers Gets Favorite Son Candidate Nod". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. May 29, 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-09-28 – via Google News Archive Search.
  5. ^ a b Tucker, Ray (January 30, 1960). "How Term 'Favorite Son' Got Started in Politics". The Free Lance-Star. pp. 4, 7. Retrieved 2023-09-28 – via Google News Archive Search.
  6. ^ Shafer, Byron E. (1988). Bifurcated Politics: Evolution and Reform in the National Party Convention. Harvard University Press. p. 71. ISBN 9780674072565. Favorite sons were already, almost necessarily, in decline as the nomination moved outside the convention in the prereform years.
  7. ^ Tarr, Dave; Benenson, Bob (22 October 2013). Elections A to Z. CQ Press. ISBN 9781506331508 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Favorite Son Groups Will be Numerous at 1940 Convention of Democrats". The Day (New London). August 4, 1939 – via Google News Archive Search.
  9. ^ But not only in them: in Lenin's will, Nikolai Bukharin was termed "the Party's favourite son": Randazzo, Francesco, Zarstvo and Communism: Italian Diplomacy in Russia in the Age of Soviet Communism. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019, p. 110.