John Hoynes was an American politician of the Democratic Party, who served as Vice President of the United States under Josiah Bartlet from 1999 to 2003, when he resigned due to a sex scandal. He returned to the political arena as a strong contender in the 2006 presidential race, and again his ambition was dashed by another sex scandal.

Biography Edit


As a Texas senator, Hoynes was the presumptive favorite for the Democratic Presidential nomination in the 1998 election. After a long primary battle, Hoynes lost the nomination to New Hampshire Governor Josiah Bartlet. Incidentally, he started losing momentum in that campaign exactly when Josh Lyman, his chief strategist, quit and defected to the Bartlet operation. During the Democratic National Convention, Bartlet invited Hoynes to his hotel room to ask him to join the ticket as his running mate. Bartlet counted on Hoynes to deliver the South, but eventually lost Texas in the general election, possibly due to Texans taking offense to Bartlet's then-frequent jokes about the Lone Star State. In an attempt to show that he trusted him, Bartlet disclosed to Hoynes that he had multiple sclerosis. Hoynes refused to give Bartlet an answer immediately, but eventually accepted. Leo McGarry had initially advised Bartlet to select Hoynes as running mate, a choice with which Lyman and the other top campaign staff members agreed.

Bartlet's TermsEdit

Hoynes is a proponent of more opportunities for technology use in rural areas, and federal government legislation funding that. He believes that the second amendment is archaic, but is disinclined to support harsh gun restrictions. He has avoided explictly endorsing constitutional changes or legislation prohibiting gay marriage, but has not endorsed legalizing it. He believes the issue deserves "thoughtful study".

In the fourth season, it was discovered that Hoynes had leaked classified information to a Washington, D.C. socialite named Helen Baldwin, a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. He told her that he had seen evidence of life on Mars. Hoynes later confessed, "I like to show off." When President Bartlet asked Hoynes if he was in a position to deny the affair, Hoynes informed him that he was resigning the Vice Presidency. President Bartlet and White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry fervently discouraged him from doing this, but he insisted, partly because he never really liked the vice presidency and also because he wished to spare his family further pain.

In the fifth season, it was discovered that Hoynes received a $5 million advance to write a tell-all book entitled Full Disclosure. Its aim was to repair his image so that he could successfully run for the presidency to succeed President Bartlet in the 2006 election. He did an interview with Diane Mathers (a Barbara Walters-Diane Sawyer composite), wife by his side, as part of this effort. His candidacy was announced shortly after.[1]

However, he was unable to get his 1998 campaign strategist Josh Lyman to agree to run his campaign again.

His campaign in the primary election of 2006, for which he has been a serious contender, was "temporarily suspended" as he retreated to Washington to be with his family. This, after a tabloid paid a former Senate staffer to share her old tale of sexual involvement (excluding any actual sex) with the then-senator. Judging by the comments of California Governor Tillman, Campaign Manager of (Vice President) Russell's campaign Will Bailey, and the media, among many others; and in consideration of being dogged by rumors of his sexual exploits since the Senate, which only subsided after the book and interview, his political career is effectively over.

This has been confirmed by the season six finale, in which he wound up as neither the presidential candidate or the running mate for the 2006 election on the Democratic side.

Hoynes was present at Leo McGarry's funeral service.

Personal LifeEdit

Hoynes speaks fluent French and is a recovering alcoholic. He attended Southern Methodist University and was a lawyer, but made his money in the oil industry. He has several children and is in his second marriage, to wife Suzanne.

White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg correctly inferred that Hoynes was a womanizer long before he became the Vice President. They had a one-night stand ten years before the fifth season, in which she noted his practiced approach suggested he probably was hiding a long list of mistresses. ("Full Disclosure") This conversation foreshadowed the second sex scandal that sank his presidential campaign.


Hoynes is in many ways the counterweight to Jed Bartlet, the moderate pragmatist to the President's 'ivory tower idealism'. This, however, makes him similar to Leo McGarry, and potentially overlooked because much of what he might have brought has already been provided by the Chief of Staff. Like Bartlet, he draws a thick black line between his professional role and obligations and his private life. He and McGarry have some lulls in their rolling battle, often engendered by a recognition of their mutual alcoholism, and its consequences.

Hoynes in his resignation shows a willingness to shoulder the responsibility for his actions and their outcomes which belies the glad-handing figure has sometimes appeared to be. Despite being in general a consummate politician, and thus playing to his audience, John Hoynes on occasion sticks to his guns irrespective of the cost because he believes in his position.



Work HistoryEdit

  • Lawyer in San Antonio, Texas
  • Head Counsel for Connex Energy
  • After Resignation: Partner in Washington, D.C. law firm

Political HistoryEdit

  • 1989-1991: US House
  • 1991-1999: US Senator
  • early 1998: Democratic Presidential Candidate
  • late 1998: Democratic Vice-Presidential Nominee
  • 1999-2003: Vice President of the United States
  • 2006: Democratic Presidential Candidate

Behind the scenesEdit

Similarities to Lyndon Johnson Edit

It has been noted that the character Hoynes has some parallels to former President Lyndon Johnson. Like Johnson, Hoynes is a U.S. Senator from Texas and became Democratic floor leader after serving in the Senate for a short time. Also like Johnson, Hoynes ran for the Democratic nomination for President, only to be defeated by a much less qualified New England Democrat. In Johnson's case this was U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy, in Hoynes' case this was New Hampshire Governor Josiah Bartlet. Johnson was also in the race with a western Democrat Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, similarly Hoynes was running against Senator William Wiley of Washington.

Hoynes, like Johnson, became the candidate for vice president after Bartlet begged him to accept in order to gain support in the South and win the general election. Hoynes was treated dismissively by members of the Bartlet administration. Johnson was treated similarly by JFK, members of the Kennedy administration and members of the Kennedy family.

Unlike Johnson and Kennedy, however, Hoynes served in a time when a politician's marital infidelity was aggressively reported by mainstream media outlets.

See also Edit

  1. Episode 6x07 "A Change Is Gonna Come"

United States Congressional Delegation from Texas
Hoynes (D)
Cor | Fields (D) | Lien (D) | Santos (D) | Tillinghouse (D)

Cabinet of President Josiah Bartlet
Vice President   John HoynesBob Russell
Secretary of State   Lewis Berryhill
Secretary of the Treasury   Ken KatoKaren Browning
Secretary of Defense   Miles Hutchinson
Attorney General   Dan LarsonAlan Fisk
Secretary of the Interior   Bill Horton
Secretary of Agriculture   Roger Tribbey
Secretary of Commerce   Mitch Bryce
Secretary of Labor   Carl ReidJack Buckland
Secretary of Health and Human Services   Blieden
Secretary of Education   Jim Kane
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development   Deborah O'LearyBill Fisher
Secretary of Transportation   Keaton
Secretary of Energy   Ben ZaharianBill TrotterGerald Deloit
Secretary of Veterans Affairs   Weaver
White House Chief of Staff   Leo McGarryC.J. Cregg
Director of Central Intelligence   George RollieRob KonradGeorge Rollie

Preceded by:
Senate Majority Leader
prior to 1999
Succeeded by:
eventually Moseley
Preceded by:
Democratic Candidate for Vice President of the United States
1998, 2002
Succeeded by:
Leo McGarry
Preceded by:
Vice President of the United States
Succeeded by:
Bob Russell