frontrunneritis
(frunt.run.ur.EYE.tus) n. The tendency for the early front-runner during or before an election or party leadership race to be subjected to increased scrutiny. Also: front-runner-it is.

Example Citations:
These must be tough days for Paul Martin, widely considered [Canada's] prime-minister-in-waiting to a Prime Minister going nowhere fast. Mr. Martin is suffering from a serious case of frontrunneritis, a frustrating affliction given the need to keep his competitive juices bottled up until Jean Chretien finally takes his leave, likely not until at least 2000.
—Edward Greenspon, "Case of 'frontrunneritis' afflicts PM's heir-apparent," The Globe and Mail, November 8, 1997

With Clinton, there was concern that he was not forceful enough, did not convey a sense that he will fight for change, fight for the average family. Fear of front-runner-it is is well-founded; he doesn‘t need to be angrier at his opponents, just angrier at the status quo.
—Thomas Oliphant, “Who will challenge Clinton?,“ The Boston Globe, February 5, 1992

Earliest Citation:
Both Mondale and Glenn are afflicted by what one Democratic pro calls “front-runner-itis“ — the crippling need to weigh every phrase for fear of offending a potential voter.
—Walter Shapiro, “Eight Is Enough,“ Newsweek, November 14, 1983

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