running mate

a candidate for an office linked with another and more important office, as for the vice-presidency.
a horse entered in a race in which another, more important, horse from the same stable, or belonging to the same owner, is run.
a close companion.

1865–70, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
running mate
1.  (US) a candidate for the subordinate of two linked positions, esp a candidate for the vice-presidency
2.  a horse that pairs another in a team

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Example sentences
The real question is who would make a good running mate.
It would be interesting to see who he chose as a running mate.
Generally, a running mate is chosen that will in some way balance the party's
  ticket for the general election.
Typically, the presidential nominee then chooses a running mate to be the
  party's candidate for vice president.
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