Presidential campaign announcements in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Michele Bachmann 2012 presidential campaign formal announcement on June 26, 2011

A campaign announcement is the formal public launch of a political campaign, often delivered in a speech by the candidate at a political rally.

Formal campaign announcements play an important role in United States presidential elections, particularly in shaping the start of a campaign season.[1][2][3] They became more significant with the introduction of presidential primaries (as opposed to state caucuses) in the early 20th century. The expression to "throw one's hat in the ring", describing a challenger in boxing, was popularized by the Theodore Roosevelt 1912 presidential campaign.[4] There has been a trend of announcements coming earlier, and even being preceded by an invisible primary phase[5] and often as a first public step by an exploratory committee.[6]

A pledge to not run, the opposite of a campaign announcement, is known as a Shermanesque statement.[7]


The timing of announcements has to balance aspects of first-mover advantage,[8] name recognition,[9] political momentum, and campaign fundraising for early or late entrants. Frontrunners generally have more reason to delay announcing.[10] Financial rules from the Federal Elections Commission also disincentivize candidates from clearly stating their intentions early.[11] Notable late outsider efforts include the Robert F. Kennedy 1968 presidential campaign and the Jesse Jackson 1984 presidential campaign.

Presidential announcements took new social media political forms in the 2012 and 2016 campaigns.[12][13] The ambiguity of waiting for formal announcements for US elections in general has been criticized.[9][14]

The Ross Perot 1992 presidential campaign had been de facto active as an independent campaign with a conditional announcement statement on Larry King Live (a talk show first), before the candidate withdrew, and then re-entered and formally announced only a month before the election.[15][16]

Sometimes an announcement will be delayed until considerably after the primary campaign has been underway, for example with the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign.[17]

The John Delaney 2020 presidential campaign announcement on July 28, 2017, is thought to be the earliest by a serious candidate for at least 45 years.[18]


  1. ^ "A Look Through History of Presidential Announcements". ABC News. April 10, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Trent, Judith S.; Friedenberg, Robert V.; Denton, Robert E., Jr. (2011). Political Campaign Communication: Principles and Practices. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442206717.
  3. ^ Denton, Robert E., Jr. (2017). Studies of Communication in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498560306.
  4. ^ Gooden, Philip; Lewis, Peter (June 30, 2013). Idiomantics: The Weird and Wonderful World of Popular Phrases. A&C Black. ISBN 9781408157435.
  5. ^ Parlapiano, Alicia (April 16, 2015). "How Presidential Campaigns Became Two-Year Marathons". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  6. ^ Elving, Ron (December 5, 2012). "Declaring for President is a Dance of Seven Veils". NPR.
  7. ^ Delahunty, Andrew; Dignen, Sheila (2012). "Shermanesque". Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion. Oxford University Press. p. 328. ISBN 9780199567461.
  8. ^ Hohmann, James (December 23, 2015). "Ted Cruz's announcement was the most buzzed about non-Trump moment of the GOP race in 2015". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ a b Cillizza, Chris (May 18, 2015). "How candidates announce for president is getting ridiculous". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Glueck, Katie. "The curse of being first". Politico. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Everybody knows these Democrats will probably run for president so why won't they just say it?". NBC News. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  12. ^ Stromer-Galley, Jennifer (2014). Presidential Campaigning in the Internet Age. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199731947.
  13. ^ Bitecofer, Rachel (2017). The Unprecedented 2016 Presidential Election. Springer. ISBN 9783319619767.
  14. ^ "Why we like candidates who are clear about their election plans—and don't care about formal kickoffs". Daily Kos. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Holmes, Steven A. (October 2, 1992). "The 1992 Campaign: The Announcement; Perot Sticks to His Unorthodox Campaign Style". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Kurtz, Howard (October 28, 1992). "The Talk Show Campaign". The Washington Post.
  17. ^ Gearan, Anne (April 12, 2015). "Clinton strikes populist tone in long-awaited campaign announcement". The Washington Post.
  18. ^ "The First 2020 Candidate Is … Hold On, I Had The Name Right Here … John Delaney". FiveThirtyEight. July 29, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2019.