In our final examination of Presidents and their background and experiences for the White House, we will now examine Presidential campaigns lost by Presidents.
A total of 15 Presidents ran unsuccessful campaigns for Presidents as follows:
Thomas Jefferson lost the Presidential Election of 1796 to John Adams, but then won in 1800 and 1804.
Andrew Jackson lost the Presidential Election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams, but then won in 1828 and 1832.
William Henry Harrison lost the Presidential Election Of 1836 to Martin Van Buren, but then won in 1840.
Martin Van Buren received the most votes on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention in 1844, but failed to win the required two thirds majority, and lost the nomination to James K. Polk. He also ran on the Free Soil Party ticket for President in 1848, and finished behind winner Zachary Taylor and second place finisher Lewis Cass. However, he had won the Presidency earlier in 1836.
James Buchanan competed for the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1848 and 1852, but failed to get the nomination, losing to Lewis Cass and Franklin Pierce, respectively, but then won the Presidency in 1856.
Millard Fillmore ran on the American (Know Nothing) Party ticket for President in 1856, but finished behind winner James Buchanan and loser John C. Fremont. Earlier, he had served as President after the death of Zachary Taylor.
Andrew Johnson competed for the Democratic nomination in 1860, but lost the nomination to Stephen A. Douglas. He later served as President after the death of Abraham Lincoln.
Ulysses S. Grant competed for the Republican nomination in 1880, losing the nomination to James A. Garfield. He had earlier been elected President in 1868 and 1872.
Theodore Roosevelt competed for the Republican nomination in 1912, losing the nomination to President William Howard Taft. He ran in the general election as the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party candidate, having earlier served as President, after succeeding to the officer upon the death of William McKinley, and then being elected in his own right in 1904.
Herbert Hoover competed for the Republican nomination in 1920, but lost the nomination to Warren G Harding, but then won the Presidency in 1928.
Lyndon B. Johnson lost the Democratic nomination to John F. Kennedy in 1960, became his Vice Presidential running mate, and succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and was elected for a full term in 1964.
Richard Nixon lost the Presidency to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but then won the Presidency in 1968 and 1972.
Ronald Reagan competed for the Republican nomination in 1968 and 1976, losing the nomination to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, respectively, but then won the Presidency in 1980 and 1984.
George H. W. Bush competed for the Republican nomination in 1980, losing the nomination to Ronald Reagan, but became his Vice Presidential running mate, and then Vice President, and then was elected to succeed him as President in the Presidential Election of 1988.
Donald Trump competed for the Reform Party nomination in 2000, but withdrew before Pat Buchanan won that party’s nomination, and later won the Republican nomination and was elected in 2016.
Also, two future Presidents competed for the Vice Presidency, with Franklin D. Roosevelt being the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 1920, losing to Calvin Coolidge; and John F. Kennedy competing for the Vice Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 1956, when Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson opened up the Vice Presidential nomination to be decided by the convention delegates, and Estes Kefauver being selected over Kennedy.