Now that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has made clear that he will not accept a draft for the Presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, speculation is beginning that former 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney might make himself available.
There is no way that seems possible, as Romney has totally alienated Donald Trump supporters, who would refuse to back him at the convention or in November, but the question arises whether or not losers of Presidential elections actually have been able to come back and be elected President at a later time.
The answer is both Yes and No!
Five times, a Presidential loser has come back to win, as follows:
Thomas Jefferson, lost in 1796 and won in 1800.
Andrew Jackson, lost in 1824 and won in 1828
William Henry Harrison, lost in 1836 and won in 1840
Grover Cleveland, lost in 1888 and won in 1892, only President to win (1884), lose, and then win again.
Richard Nixon, lost in 1960 and won in 1968
However, six other Presidential candidates lost more than once as follows:
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney lost in 1804 and 1808.
Henry Clay lost in 1824, 1832, and 1844.
Martin Van Buren lost in 1840 as a Democrat, after having won in 1836, and then again lost in 1848 as the nominee of the Free Soil Party.
William Jennings Bryan lost in 1896, 1900, and 1908.
Thomas E. Dewey lost in 1944 and 1948.
Adlai Stevenson lost in 1952 and 1956.
Additionally, three third party candidates have lost more than once as follows:
Socialist nominee Eugene Debs lost in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, and 1920, a total of five times.
Socialist nominee Norman Thomas lost in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948, a total of six times.
Reform Party nominee Ross Perot lost in 1992 and 1996, the first time as an Independent.