Speakers Of The House Of Representatives: The Presidency And The Vice Presidency

With strong hints that former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia will likely be the first Republican to announce his candidacy for the Presidency, it makes one look back and see the history of the Speaker of the House and the office of the Presidency and the Vice Presidency.

Only one Speaker of the House has been elected President, James Polk in the 1844 election, after having served as Speaker from 1835-1839.

Two others who were Speaker were nominated for President and lost–Henry Clay (1811-1814, 1815-1820, 1823-1825)) who lost in 1824, 1832 and 1844; and James G. Blaine (1869-1875) who lost in 1884.

Another Speaker, Champ Clark (1911-1919) sought the nomination in 1912, was ahead in delegates at the Democratic National Convention, but lost the nomination to Woodrow Wilson.

Two others served as Vice President–Schuyler Colfax (1863-1869) who served under Ulysses Grant from 1869-1873; and John Nance Garner (1931-1933), who served under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933-1941.

Additionally, John Bell (1834-1835) ran for President on the Constitutional Union Party in the 1860 Presidential election which led to the victory of Abraham Lincoln.

So Gingrich would be the eighth Speaker to seek high office as President or Vice President, but would only be the second to reach that position were he to be elected in 2012. Don’t bet on it!