dark horse

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dark horse,

in U.S. politics, a person unexpectedly chosen by a major party as a candidate for public office, especially for the presidency. A presidential dark horse is usually chosen at a party national convention and often has acquired only a local or limited reputation at the time of his nomination. He is invariably the offspring of compromise after rival factions have deadlocked the convention. Probably the best-known example of a dark horse is James K. Polk, who was selected at the Democratic convention of 1844 on the ninth ballot, although he had not been nominated until the eighth ballot.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

dark horse

1. a competitor in a race or contest about whom little is known; an unknown
2. US Politics a candidate who is unexpectedly nominated or elected
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
So if you see any of these Dark Horses having a conversation with any world leader, you are bound to be highly impressed and gorgonized.
Speaking of Australia in next summer's World Cup, Shaw said: "I think they're a dark horse, especially if they get out of the Group of Death."
Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT, Meralco, and TV5, another "dark horse," declined.
"I've seen enough from our blokes to suggest we can be one of those dark horses.
DBS (D05.SI) was picked as the bank's 'dark horse' in Singapore.
"I think Cardiff have got the ambition - the [Craig] Bellamy signing shows you that - but Swansea might be the dark horses," Keegan said.
"As far as the title race is concerned Aston Villa could be the dark horses," said Ferguson, whose own aspirations suffered an early season blow in yesterday's 2-1 defeat Liverpool.
From where we were six weeks ago, the tournament's dark horses are us."
"I did say they would be the dark horses and that win didn't surprise me at all," he added.
'But that can work in a team's favour as we proved last year and I think Scotland are very much the dark horses this time.
Frank Reader's vocals were perfect on unreleased songs All The Dark Horses and Weightlifting, while their jingly- jangly melodies sounded as good as ever on favourites such as Safecracker, The Best Man's Fall and January's Little Joke.
Dark Horses and Black Beauties by Melissa Holbrook Pierson is about the bond between women and horses, and the way the rest of the world views that bond.