In United States politics and government, the term presidential nominee has two different meanings:
- A candidate for president of the United States who has been selected by the delegates of a political party at the party's national convention (also called a presidential nominating convention ) to be that party's official candidate for the presidency.
- A person nominated by a sitting U.S. president to an executive or judicial post, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate . (See Appointments Clause , List of positions filled by presidential appointment with Senate confirmation .)
In United States presidential elections , the presumptive nominee is a presidential candidate who is assumed to be their party's nominee , but has not yet been formally nominated or elected by their political party at the party's nominating convention . Ordinarily, a candidate becomes the presumptive nominee of their party when their "last serious challenger drops out"  or when the candidate "mathematically clinches—whichever comes first. But there is still room for interpretation."  A candidate mathematically clinches a nomination by securing a simple majority (i.e., more than 50 percent) of delegates through the primaries and caucuses prior to the convention. The time at which news organizations begin to refer to a candidate as the "presumptive nominee" varies from election to election.  The shift in media usage from " front-runner " to "presumptive nominee" is considered a significant change for a campaign. 
In the modern era, it is the norm for the major political parties' nominees to be "clear well before the conventions"; in the past, however, some conventions have begun with the outcome in doubt, requiring multiple rounds of balloting to select a nominee.  The last conventions with more than one ballot for president occurred in 1952 for the Democrats and 1948 for the Republicans . 
Losing candidates, after withdrawing from the primary race, often "release" their delegates, who frequently declare support for the presumptive nominee.
A presumptive nominee typically will have already selected a vice presidential running mate before the convention—see veepstakes .  In the past, the choice of vice-presidential candidate has been made by the convention itself. 
The term "presumptive nominee" is disliked by some writers; language commentator William Safire called it a "bogus title" and preferred the phrase presumed nominee , which was used by The New York Times in 2004.