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Dark horse

From Academic Kids

A dark horse candidate is one who is nominated unexpectedly, without previously having been discussed or considered as a likely choice. Often a dark horse is selected as a compromise when other, more prominent candidates' factions cannot come to an agreement. This metaphoric expression originally alluded to an unknown horse winning a race and was so used in a novel by Benjamin Disraeli (The Young Duke, 1831).

The expression was soon applied to political candidates, among the first of whom was James Knox Polk. He won the 1844 Democratic presidential nomination over Martin Van Buren on the eighth ballot and went on to win the election. Other famous dark horse candidates for the US Presidency were Warren G. Harding, elected president after his surprise nomination, John W. Davis, the unsuccessful Democratic nominee in 1924, and Wendell Willkie, the unsuccessful Republican nominee in 1940. More recently, some have described Bill Clinton as a dark horse, after he overcame a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls to win the 1992 presidential election.


Dark Horse Comics is a comic book publisher.

Dark Horse is also the title of a famous song by George Harrison.

See also

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