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.

Example Citation:
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

Earliest Citation:
They all looked at Mondale, searching his eyes for defeat or recrimination. "I'm not blaming anyone," he said straightway. "It's my fault." He knew he had the best organization in history, because, he said teasingly, he had been reading their clippings. Their problem was that they had all got infected by frontrunneritis, a diagnosis from which he did not exempt himself, and had come to believe their own claim that their success was inevitable.
—Tony Fuller et al., "The Hart tornado: a storm out of nowhere," Newsweek Election Extra, November, 1984

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