This article lists potential candidates for the Democratic nomination for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for President of the United States, chose Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate. The formal nomination took place at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The Clinton-Kaine ticket lost the 2016 presidential election, and Kaine returned to the Senate following the campaign.
By April 2016, Clinton had begun discussions with advisers and allies regarding her potential running mate, though Bernie Sanders continued to challenge her in the Democratic primaries. According to campaign sources, Clinton did not have a particular running mate in mind, and did not feel pressured to pick a running mate designed specifically to appeal to Sanders supporters. There was relatively little public discussion about Sanders's running mate selection process. As the 2016 Republican National Convention took place roughly one week before the July 25–28 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic presidential nominee was set to choose her running mate after the Republicans nominated their ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Clinton's running mate selection process was led by campaign chairman John Podesta and Cheryl Mills, while the vetting process was led by attorney James Hamilton. In discussing her potential vice presidential choice, Clinton stated that the most important attribute she was looking for is the ability and experience to immediately step into the role of president. In contrast to previous Democratic presidential nominees, Clinton allowed for a relatively open selection process, holding rallies with many potential running mates and placing little emphasis on keeping her short list confidential.
According to a CNN report published on June 21, 2016, Clinton had narrowed down her list to no more than five contenders, including Kaine, Warren, and Castro. However, a separate Washington Post report released that same day stated that, while Clinton had begun vetting Kaine, Warren, and Castro, more than a dozen people remained on her list of possible running mates. On July 7, 2016, CNN reported that Clinton had narrowed down her shortlist to five people: Brown, Kaine, Perez, Warren, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. On July 12, 2016, The New York Times confirmed that the Clinton campaign was vetting former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Retired Admiral James G. Stavridis. Clinton also met with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in mid-July, fueling speculation that he might be chosen as the vice presidential nominee. After Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump named Mike Pence as his running mate on July 15, Kaine and Vilsack emerged as the top two contenders, although other individuals such as Perez remained in contention.
On July 22, Clinton announced via Twitter that she had chosen Tim Kaine as her running mate. After the selection, Amy Chozick of the New York Times described Kaine as a "battleground state politician with working-class roots and a fluency in Spanish." Like his Republican counterpart, Mike Pence, Kaine has experience both as a governor and a member of Congress.
If the Clinton-Kaine ticket had won election, Kaine would have resigned from the Senate, with Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe appointing Kaine's replacement prior to a 2017 special election. According to Glenn Thrush of Politico, Kaine had been the preferred choice of Clinton since at least February 2016.
On October 18, 2016 WikiLeaks released more hacked emails from Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta. One of these emails Podesta sent Clinton was a "first cut of people to consider for VP" in March 2016. He wrote that this list had been generated with other top aides. Podesta organized the list into what he called "food groups" apparently based around identities — Latinos, women, African-Americans, military brass, and business leaders.
The list of 39 names was:
The following individuals received coverage as potential running mates from multiple news sources. These individuals do not appear on the short list above or on the Wikileaks list.
Members of Congress