11 TV Candidates Who Got Our Vote

Megan Muessen
Veep

Lacey Terrell/HBO

Tuesday's presidential election has generated a ton of media buzz, which has us reminiscing about our favorite fictional elections. TV elections are a fascinating, whether it's a presidential election on Veep to one for city council on Parks and Recreation. Here are some TV candidates from the last decade-plus who would get our vote.

Parks and Recreation, election gallery

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Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation

An enthusiastic and dedicated public servant, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) is a natural-born leader working at Pawnee, Indiana’s Parks and Recreation Department. She has high aspirations, eventually running for City Council where she is faced with comical (and frighteningly believable) obstacles like misogyny, archaic city laws and a bratty, wealthy child-like opponent named Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd).

Her optimism and work ethic eventually lead her to opportunity—in the series finale it is implied during a flash-forward that she found her way into the Oval Office.

SCANDAL, election gallery

Byron Cohen/ABC

Mellie Grant, Scandal

Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), a former FLOTUS turned Republican presidential nominee, is a character you love to hate but you root for anyway. While married to the current president, Mellie ignored his infidelity and selfish lifestyle in hopes that he would one day return the favor and help her become the first female POTUS. Watching her scorned attempts at connecting with the American people invokes a strange feeling of anger. Mellie Grant has our vote.

Veep

Lacey Terrell/HBO

Selina Meyer, Veep

Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is an often disregarded and trivialized vice president. After the President resigns, Meyer has eight months to charm the American people and prove she has what it takes to run the country and get reelected. In a hilariously ironic, twist Selina’s own VP, often-ignored Andrew Doyle (Phil Reeves), turns on her and the results of the election are one for the history books.

House of Cards

David Giesbrecht/Netflix

Frank Underwood, House of Cards

Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) begins a long-running scheme to gain power after he is passed over for Secretary of State. By gaining trust and leaking stories about his political opponents, Frank eventually clears his way to the Oval Office. Frank feels tremendous pressure from both the public and his wife Claire (Robin Wright), who has manipulated her way onto Frank’s ticket as vice president. It’s hard not to root for a show’s main character, but Frank makes us question our loyalty.

The Wire, election gallery

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Clarence Royce and Tommy Carcetti, The Wire

The incumbent mayor of Baltimore, Clarence Royce (Glynn Turman), is worried Councilman Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) is gunning for his job but doesn’t think Carcetti, a white man, will be elected to a predominantly black city. Carcetti uses the rising crime rate of Baltimore as a campaign tactic, which causes Royce to demand more of his officers and ultimately leads to a rising crime rate. Royce is then caught in an adulterous relationship in his own office and he sees a major setback in his reelection. Royce’s own desire to stay Mayor causes him to lose sight of what really matters—the city.

GOTHAM, election gallery

Jessica Miglio/FOX.

Oswald “The Penguin” Cobbletpot, Gotham

In a mind-blowing twist, Oswald “The Penguin” Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) decides to run for the position of mayor of Gotham. After claiming to have killed Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), his mobster mentor, the public views Cobblepot as a hero. Though the previous mayor, Aubrey James (Richard Kind), was corrupt, it’s hard to believe Gotham could be in better hands with the Penguin.

24, election gallery

Michael Desmond/FOX.

David Palmer, 24

While running for reelection, incumbent David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) finds himself in a difficult situation: Palmer’s brother is having an affair with a supporter’s wife and Palmer’s own lover is killed due to a political scandal. He wants to cancel his reelection campaign but is injured when Air Force One is shot down. The presidency is given to his inept vice president in the meantime. Palmer isn’t done leading America; but he has to find his way back to the Oval Office.

Arrow, election gallery

Diyah Pera/ The CW

Oliver Queen, Arrow

Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), self-appointed protector of Star City, moonlights as Green Arrow at night. No stranger to political races (his mother ran for mayor in season two), he decides to serve Star City during the day and runs for mayor. Queen faces off against the wife of Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), running as Ruvé Adams (Janet Kidder). Queen has no choice but to fight the Darhk family in the shadows and act professional when he’s not wearing his iconic suit. Oliver is forced out of the race when Damien Darhk threatens his family but that doesn’t stop our hero from finding justice.

Paul Sarkis/CBS

Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife

Alicia Florrick (Julianna Marguiles), is a former stay-at-home mother who returns to her career as an attorney after her husband is sent to jail for sexual misconduct and political scandal. She originally has no intention of running for State's Attorney but changes her mind after being threatened. Alicia tries to prepare with mock trials while balancing her job and taking care of her children but she finds that she has more dirty secrets than most. When Alicia’s campaign advises her to talk negatively about her husband’s time as State's Attorney, she is conflicted. Campaign contributors attempt to call in favors and voting machines are tampered with; it’s no wonder Alicia can get up and face each new day.

The West Wing, election gallery

Greg Schwartz/NBCU Photo Bank

Matthew Santos, The West Wing

In The West Wing’s fictional 2006 Presidential election, Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) is up against Republican opponent Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) after duking it out against multiple Democratic nominees. Santos was not polling well, though managed to grab more support by promising not to run a negative campaign2. He was able to win more primaries after his competition, John Hoynes (Tim Matheson), suspended his campaign due to inappropriate sexual advances and astonishingly won the DNC’s support after an inspirational speech. On election night Santos’ pick for vice president is found dead, leaving him wondering what that means for his candidacy.

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