A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or honor, or a person seeking or being considered for a few kind of position; for example:

"Nomination" is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office by a political party, or the bestowing of an honour or award. This person is called a "nominee", though nominee often is used interchangeably with "candidate". Presumptive nominee is a term used when a person or organisation believes that the nomination is inevitable or likely. The act of being a candidate in a race for either a party nomination or for electoral office is called a "candidacy". Presumptive candidate might be used to describe someone who's predicted to be a formal candidate.

"Candidate" is a derivative of the Latin "candidus" (shining white). In Ancient Rome, people running for political office would usually wear togas chalked and bleached to be bright white at speeches, debates, conventions, and additional public functions.

Candidates in elections

In the context of elections for public office in a representational partisan democracy, a candidate who has been selected by a political party is normally said to be the nominee of that party. The party's selection (that is, the nomination) is typically accomplished either based on one or more primary elections according to the rules of the party and any applicable election laws.

Candidates additionally might be described as "incumbents", if they're already serving in the office for which they're seeking re-election or "challengers", if they're seeking to unseat an incumbent.

In the context of elections for public office in a direct democracy, a candidate can be nominated by any eligible person—and if parliamentary procedures are used, the nomination has to be seconded, i.e., receive agreement from a second person.

In a few non-partisan representative systems (e.g., administrative elections of the Bahá'í Faith), no nominations (or campaigning, electioneering, etc.) take place at all, with voters free to choose any person at the time of voting—with a few possible exceptions such as through a minimum age requirement—in the jurisdiction. In such cases, it isn't required (or even possible) that the members of the electorate be familiar with all of the eligible persons in their area, though such systems might involve indirect elections at larger geographic levels to ensure that a few first-hand familiarity among potential electees can exist at these levels (i.e., among the elected delegates).

Age of candidacy

The age of candidacy refers to the minimum age at which a person can legally qualify to hold certain elected government offices. The United States Constitution sets minimum age requirements, as do state constitutions.

In the United States, a person must be at least 35 years of age to be President or Vice President, thirty years of age to be a senator, or twenty-five years of age to be a representative, as specified in the United States Constitution.

Presumptive candidate

The term "presumptive candidate" is at times used to describe a person who hasn't officially become a candidate is considered highly likely to in the future. For example, Jeb Bush has been named a presumptive candidate by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.