In a presidential election, there are always winners and losers. Let’s look back over the last 20 years at the election night losers and where they are now:
Hillary Clinton – Democratic nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election
Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016. The former secretary of state and US senator wrote a book titled, “What Happened?” and has supported Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. Clinton served as the U.S. secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Tim Kaine – Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election
Tim Kaine returned to the United States Senate in 2016. He won re-election in 2018 and never publicly confirmed he was considering running for president in 2020.
Mitt Romney – Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election
Mitt Romney lost to President Barack Obama in 2012. After he re-established residency in Utah, Romney announced he would run for the Senate seat held by Orrin Hatch who retired in 2019. In 2018, Romney won and joined the Senate in 2019.
Paul Ryan – Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2012 election
After the 2012 election, Ryan continued to serve in the House of Representatives. He served as the 54th speaker of the House from 2015 to 2019. Ryan did not run for re-election in 2018 and joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame during the 2019-2020 academic year.
John McCain – Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election
John McCain lost to Barack Obama in 2008. After the election, McCain returned to the Senate where he served until he passed away from cancer in 2018. McCain, a former US Navy officer, served in the Senate for over 30 years.
Sarah Palin – Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 election
After the 2008 election, Sarah Palin continued to serve as the governor of Alaska until July 2009. In the years that followed, she was a guest commentator on several political talk shows and wrote multiple books. She has also appeared on multiple reality TV shows.
John Kerry – Democratic nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 election
John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in 2004. After the election, Kerry remained in the Senate until 2013 when he was nominated to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He remained in that position until 2017 when he retired from politics.
John Edwards – Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2004 election
Edwards ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Following the campaign, Edwards was indicted in 2011 on felony charges related to a cover-up of an extramarital affair. He was declared not guilty and a judge ruled a mistrial on other charges. Edwards returned to law practice and has not re-entered politics since 2008.
Al Gore – Democratic nominee for President of the United States in the 2000 election
After losing the controversial 2000 election, the former vice president left politics focused on environmental issues. Climate change, his primary focus over the last decade, earned him a Nobel Peace Price in 2007.
Joe Lieberman- Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2000 election
Lieberman served in the Senate until his retirement in 2013. He has remained active in politics and was considered (and withdrew from consideration) for the open FBI Director position in 2017.
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