Incumbent means someone who currently holds office. Is there a word that describes someone who is completely new to politics, like "rookie" does for sports. I feel like "rookie" doesn't fit well with political office, though.

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    Rookie or Amateur works here – NVZ Apr 28 '16 at 20:56
  • Does this politician show great potential? If yes, he may be called a "rising politician". – NVZ Apr 28 '16 at 21:25
  • or a "rising figure within the Political Class". – Graffito Apr 28 '16 at 22:07

In American English "freshman" is common, especially when discussing legislators.

freshman: lacking seniority or experience; junior:

  • Odd to see "freshman" defined as "junior." – Steven Littman Apr 29 '16 at 11:36


n. a young or inexperienced person.

adj. new and untried or inexperienced.

Lamont said yesterday: "He is a fledgling politician and a fledgling journalist and he will have learn you do not damage people's reputations that have been hard won.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language


: a person who has recently started a particular activity.



neophyte : a person who has just started learning or doing something; : a person who has recently joined a religious group

The "religious" group being other politicians.




someone who does not have much ​skill in what they do

"I won't be giving them any more ​work - they're a ​bunch of amateurs."


a person who has just started a job or activity and has little experience

Ngram shows that "amateur politician" was used more than "rookie politician" and it peaked in usage in the 1940s.

Both, "amateur politician" and "rookie politician" have quite a lot of search results on Google to say that it's a common usage. There are results showing books, news, etc containing these words.

Btw, if the politician shows good potential, he may be referred to as a "rising politician".


increasing in rank, status, or reputation: "a rising young politician."

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