No Protestants Running on Ticket for First Time Ever
With the Saturday selection of Paul Ryan from Wisconsin as his running mate, Mitt Romney has ensured that there would not be anyone from the two major political parties nominated for a presidential ticket who is Protestant. This marks the first time in history that has happened.
Al Smith, then Governor of New York in 1928, became the first Roman Catholic to be on a major party’s ticket however, his nomination was offset out by Senator Taylor Robinson from Arkansas, a Protestant famous for speaking out about the anti-Catholic bigotry. Herbert Hoover beat them handily.
John Kennedy, since then, has been the only candidate who was non-Protestant to win as the top member of his ticket. Besides Romney, the other candidates who were non-Protestant to lead a major party’s presidential ticket were John Kerry a Democratic senator from Massachusetts back in 2004 as well as Mike Dukakis, a former Governor of Massachusetts and a Greek Orthodox, in 1988.
Ryan is Catholic and prior to his selection only six non-Protestant vice president candidates have run, with one asterisk. William Miller, a congressman from New York, was the only Catholic from the Republicans to be nominated prior to Ryan. As far as Democrats, Senator Ed Muskie, Sargent Shriver, Geraldine Ferraro and current VP Joe Biden, all Catholics, were selected to the number two spot by their parties.
In 2000, Orthodox Jew Joe Lieberman was chosen by Al Gore to be his vice presidential running mate. George McGovern’s first pick for the VP slot, in 1972 was Senator Thomas Eagleton a Catholic, but reports from the press about his many stays in the hospital due to nervous exhaustion led to him withdrawing from the race.