What Late Veep Pick?

by Stuart Rothenberg August 21, 2008 · 12:06 AM EDT

I thought it odd last month when there was a flurry of talk about Senators Barack Obama and John McCain possibly announcing their running mates. Make a selection more than a month before the conventions, thereby eliminating the big reason for getting excited in late July and most of August? It seemed like a crazy idea to me.

Now, with the announcements near, some again are wondering why Obama and McCain have waited so long to announce their picks.

Let’s be clear: Early picks are the exception, not “late picks.” Most selections over the past 25 years have taken place the week before the conventions, so if Obama’s and McCain’s picks are “late,” it’s only because the conventions are late. Blame the International Olympic Committee, if you must.

1980 Bush (R) — July 17, during the Convention (July 14-17)
1984 Ferraro (D) — July 12, the week before the Convention (July 16-19)
1988 Quayle (R) — Aug. 16, during the Convention (Aug. 15-18)
1988 Bentsen (D) — July 12, the week before the Convention (July 18-21)
1992 Gore (D) — July 9, the week before the Convention (July 13-16)
1996 Kemp (R) — Aug. 10, two days before the Convention (Aug. 12-15)
2000 Lieberman (D) — Aug. 7, the week before the Convention (Aug. 15-17)
2000 Cheney (R) — July 25, the week before the Convention (July 31-Aug. 3)
2004 – Edwards (D) — July 6, three weeks before the Convention (July 26-29)