Lieberman as McCain’s Running Mate

Ben Smith quotes lawyer A.B. Culvahouse explaining legal obstacles to Joe Lieberman’s having been John McCain’s running mate.

“Five states have sore loser statutes … [making] it very difficult for someone who’s not a member of the Republican Party to become the vice presidential nominee if they only switch parties to become a Republican shortly before the convention,’ Culvahouse said in public remarks at the Republican National Lawyers Association annual meeting aired on C-SPAN.

Culvahouse specifically noted the example of West Virginia, a state Republicans have relied on in recent elections, saying “the constitutionality of that statute has already been litigated in West Virginia.”

“So you were looking at going to the Supreme Court, which is not particularly appetizing,” he said.

I can’t find the West Virginia statute with a quick Google search but none of the sore loser laws I’m aware of would apply.   What they’re designed to do is prevent what Lieberman did in his most recent Senate bid and John Anderson did in 1980 and Pat Buchanan did in 1996:  run in one party’s primary, lose, and then run in the general election with another party.   Lieberman was not a candidate for president in the 2008 Democratic primaries.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Law and the Courts, Supreme Court, US Constitution, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. PD Shaw says:

    Good call, James. IIRC the mechanics of these statutes were discussed widely in reference to Ron Paul running as a Libertarian last time. He was going to need to drop out of the Republican primary before his name appeared on the ballot in these sore loser states.

    Also, do any of these sore loser laws apply to the office of Vice President? That doesn’t make sense; nobody runs for Vice President. OK Bill Richardson does.