In 1852 and 1856, One potential candidate for the Whig/Republican Parties was New York Senator and future Secretary of State William H. Seward of New York. In 1852, he didn't run at all and in 1856, he was suggested for the Republicans but requested to have his name withdrawn, along with Ohio Senator Salmon Chase and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Why did he not run in either election (I've read that he had major disagreements with Fillmore as President and personally regretted not pushing more to be VP in 1848, but I can't find much info on 1856)? If he did run, would he have been nominated by either party or would they have gone with their OTL picks? And if he had been nominated, who might've been his VP and could he have won against Pierce/Buchanan? Feel free to give map predictions and whatelse to further explain your answer because I have an idea for a Timeline that involves this scenario.
With the South still fairly strong within the Whig Party in 1852, I don't think he would have had a chance to be nominated. Scott was just barely nominated, and got few southern votes in the convention, in part precisely because Seward supported him. Still, Scott did get some southern delegates, especially from his own state of VA--something Seward could never have done. And of course Seward would hardly have unanimous support in the North, either, given the opposition of conservative Whigs in his own state (whch after all was also Fillmore's own state).

In 1856, Seward might have had the Republican nomination, but he had the problem that the Know Nothings didn't like him (as governor of New York he had been too pro-Catholic on the schools issue for their taste) and moderates (especially from the "Lower North") who had reluctantly left the Whig Party for the Republicans thought him too radical on slavery. If nominated, he would almost certainly have lost in November, especially given Buchanan's home-state advantage in PA. (It took the Panic of 1857 and the revival of the tariff as an issue to tun PA into a Republican-leaning state--and of course the Buchanan/Douglas split on Lecompton also helped.) He would almost certianly also have lost in Indiana, which Fremont lost by ten points and New Jersey where Fremont barely ran ahead of Fillmore.
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After referring to Allen Nevins’ “Ordeal of the Union” series, I think I have the answer now.

Seward decided not to run in 1852 for two main reasons:
  1. He doubted that he could secure the nomination.
  2. He despised two of three main candidates, who were Dan Webster, Millard Fillmore, and Winfield Scott. He disliked Webster for being a so-called “Cotton Whig” aka one willing to compromise with the South. His rivalry with Fillmore goes back to their time together in New York politics. He desperately wanted before defeated, so he backed Scott.
Seward decided not to run in 1856 for three main reasons:
  1. He saw that the party had united around Frémont, and didn’t want to disturb the consensus.
  2. He thought the 1856 election was a lost cause for the Republicans and didn’t want to besmirch his name with a defeat.
  3. His long time campaign manager, Thurlow Weed, advised against and told him to wait until a future election, presumably 1860.
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