Favorite son

From Academic Kids

Favorite son is a political term that can refer to two different types of politicians:

  • A politician whose electoral appeal is mostly driven from his regional appeal, rather than his political views. For example, in the United States, presidential candidates usually win the support of their home states fairly easily.
  • A member of a political party who is favored by the party leadership to assume a prominent role. For example, Paul Martin, Jr., in Canada.

In U.S. politics this was also a technique used to send uncommitted delegations to a national convention of the Democratic or Republican Party. A popular or well-known governor or senator would be nominated, but was not a serious candidate. At some point during the convention the favorite son would withdraw, leaving the delegates free to support another candidate. The technique allowed senior leaders from the state to negotiate with candidates for preferential treatment.

The technique was widely used in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Since the days of open conventions were largely been replaced in the 1960s with nationwide campaigns by candidates and binding primary elections, the Favorite Son has fallen out of use.

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