How Many US Presidents Lost Their Run for a Second Term?

As of 2012, 13 US presidents who sought reelection after their first full or partial term in office had lost their bid for a second chance at the presidency. One of those 13 was Grover Cleveland, who was not reelected after his first term as president but was elected again four years later. Franklin Pierce, Chester Arthur, John Tyler and Andrew Johnson did not receive their parties' nominations after their first terms. From World War II to the 2008 election, only three US presidents — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — who received their parties' nominations after full or partial first terms lost their respective elections. In other words, incumbents usually win.

More about the reelection of US presidents:

  • Seven presidents have declined the opportunity to run for a second full term, as of 2012.

  • As of 2012, eight US president had died while in office. Four of them — Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John Kennedy — were assassinated.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office for 4,422 days, the most time in office of any US president. William Henry Harrison had the shortest term, 31 days, which was ended by his death from complications of pneumonia.

  • As of 2012, Ford was the only US president who was never elected to the office of president or vice-president. Ford was appointed vice-president when Spiro Agnew resigned, and he became the president when Richard Nixon resigned.

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