When Are Presidential Running Mates Chosen?

Picking a Vice Presidential Candidate Isn't Always Easy

Who will Donald Trump choose as a presidential running mate? What about Hillary Clinton? America's favorite parlor game is betting on who will be the presidential nominee. But a close second is the guessing over who the presidential running mates will be.

Related Story: 10 Potential Running Mates for Hillary Clinton in 2016

Presidential nominees often announce their choice of running mates in the days and weeks leading up to the nominating conventions. Only twice in modern history have the presidential nominees waited until the conventions to break the news to the public and their parties.

The party’s presidential nominee has typically chosen his running mate in July or August of a presidential election years. The 2016 Republican National Convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio, beginning on July 18. The 2016 Democratic National Convention is being held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, beginning on July 25. 

Here are some examples of when presidential running mates are chosen.

01
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Romney Picks Ryan

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 11, 2012. He was U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Romney's announcement came about two weeks before that year's Republican National Convention.

02
of 12

Sarah Palin and John McCain
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The 2008 Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 29, 2008. She was Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. McCain's decision came just days before that year's Republican National Convention, held during the first week of September.

03
of 12

Joe Biden and Barack Obama
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The 2008 Democratic presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 23, 2008. He was U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. Obama made the announcement just two days before that year's Democratic National Convention.

04
of 12
Bush Picks Cheney

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush
Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images

The 2000 Republican presidential nominee, George W. Bush, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on July 25, 2000. He was Dick Cheney, who had served as White House chief of staff to President Gerald Ford, congressman and Secretary of Defense. Bush made the announcement about one week before that year's Republican National Convention, held in late July and early August of 2000.

05
of 12
Kerry Picks Edwards

John Kerry and John Edwards
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The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on July 6, 2004. He was U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Kerry made the announcement just short of three weeks before the start of that year's Democratic National Convention.

06
of 12
Gore Picks Lieberman

Al Gore and Joe Lieberman
Chris Hondros/Newsmakers/Getty Images

The 2000 Democratic presidential nominee, Vice President Al Gore, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 8, 2000. He was U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Gore's choice was announced less than a week before the start of that year's Democratic National Convention.

07
of 12
Dole Picks Kemp

Bob Dole and Jack Kemp
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The 1996 Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 10, 1996. He was Jack Kemp, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and congressman. Dole announced his pick just two days before that year's Republican National Convention.

08
of 12
Clinton Picks Gore

Bill Clinton and Al Gore
Cynthia Johnson/Liaison/Getty Images

The 1992 Democratic presidential nominee, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, announced he had chosen his vice presidential nominee on July 9, 1992. He was U.S. Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee. Clinton made his choice of running mate public four days before that year's Democratic National Convention.

09
of 12
Bush Picks Quayle

George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle
Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images

The 1988 Republican presidential nominee, Vice President George H.W. Bush, announced he had selected his vice presidential running mate on Aug. 16, 1988. He was U.S. Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana. Bush is one of the few modern presidential nominees who announced his running mate at the party convention, not beforehand.

10
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Dukakis Picks Bentsen

Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen
Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images

The 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on July 12, 1988. He was U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. The choice was announced six days before the party convention that year.

11
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Mondale Picks Ferraro

Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro
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The 1984 Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President and U.S. Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on July 12, 1984. She was U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York. The announcement came four days before that year's party convention.

12
of 12
Reagan Picks Bush

George Bush and Ronald Reagan
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The 1980 Republican presidential nominee, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan, announced he had chosen his vice presidential running mate on July 16, 1980. He was George H.W. Bush. Reagan announced his choice of running mate at that year's Republican National Convention, not beforehand.