Donald Trump has confidently declared himself the “45th and 47th” US president. While it´s not sure that he´ll become the next president or even a candidate, he defenetly want to run for office again. Has any president before tried to get elected again after he has lost office?

  • 1
    Could the downvoter explain the reason?
    – convert
    May 16, 2023 at 20:47
  • 12
    Probably because it's a quick Google: pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/11/16/… May 16, 2023 at 20:58
  • @jeffronicus But you could say it about the most questions here.
    – convert
    May 16, 2023 at 21:15
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    @Joe W And what about the other examples, who tried but were not succesful?
    – convert
    May 16, 2023 at 21:32
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    That isn't what you asked which was has any president tried to run for office again after loosing. If you can find one example of a president running again after loosing and regaining the office you can also find examples of it not happening.
    – Joe W
    May 16, 2023 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


Not only has this happened in the past but a president has served two non consecutive terms.

Stephen Grover Cleveland

Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and from 1893 to 1897. Cleveland is the only president in U.S. history to serve non-consecutive presidential terms.[b] He won the popular vote in three presidential elections—1884, 1888, and 1892—though Benjamin Harrison won the electoral college vote and thus the presidency in 1888. Cleveland was one of two Democrats elected president (followed by Woodrow Wilson in 1912) in an era when Republicans dominated the presidency between 1861 to 1933.


And what about the other examples, who tried but were not successful?

FWTW, the unsuccessful ones were Herbert Hoover, Ulysses S. Grant, Van Buren, Fillmore, and Teddy Roosevelt, according to the Pew research linked under the Q. The last three of them (also) tried on a 3rd party ticket (as well). But in reverse chronological order:

Elected POTUS in 1928, Herbert Hoover lost the 1932 election (to FDR) and then tried to have a rematch, but lost the nomination of the Republican party in 1940), when he got only a handful of votes. According to Pew, Hoover also tried to run in the 1936 RNC but officially he received no votes in that contest--at least in the Wikipedia summary thereof.

TR [who had been elected POTUS in 1904, and previously had acceded to the office in 1901 when McKinley was assassinated] tried again in 1912, but that year TR first lost in the Republican primaries and then in actual election, in which he ran as a candidate of the Progressive Party. Somewhat similarly to Grant (discussed next) TR declined to run in 1908, on the promise of not seeking a 3rd term. Technically speaking however, TR did get like a handful of votes (3 out of 980) in the 1908 RNC. That was probably because (as Wikipedia summarizes that convention) "many chanted for "four years more" of a Roosevelt presidency, but Taft won the nomination after Henry Cabot Lodge made it clear that Roosevelt was not interested in a third term."

Grant also lost [in the Republican primaries] on a non-consecutive comeback attempt, but he had declined to run rather than straight lose the intermediate election (1876). (Unlike the 1908 TR case, Grant didn't appear at all on the 1876 RNC ballot.) Grant had been elected POTUS twice in 1868 and 1872, so had he won in 1880 (or 76), it would have been his 3rd full term, but that was not prohibited by the US constitution back then. Grant actually led the ballot in the (rather hotly contested) 1880 RNC for the first 35 rounds, but ultimately he didn't get the necessary majority and a coalition coalesced against him on the 36th round, giving Garfield (who had started with zero votes on the first round!) the nomination.

Fillmore only acceded to the presidency after Zachary Taylor died in office, in 1850. Fillmore then lost the nomination of the Whig Party in 1852 and made another unsuccessful attempt in 1856 as a candidate of the American (or “Know-Nothing”) Party.

Van Buren was elected POTUS in 1836, but then lost three times basically: a re-election on the Democratic ticket in 1840, then he lost the nomination race of that party itself in 1844, and finally he ran as a candidate of the (then, only openly anti-slavery) Free Soil Party in 1848, but again he lost.


Seven Ex-Presidents Have Tried To Reclaim the Office, but only one of them actually succeeded. Of the remaining six, three ran as third party candidates and three others attempted to run after leaving the Presidency, but failed to accomplish that goal.

The seven ex-presidents are listed below:

  • Grover Cleveland
  • Martin Van Buren
  • Millard Fillmore
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Herbert Hoover
  • Gerald Ford

Inspired by wikipedia a somewhat detailed table

President Previous term Left office because Election Year Result Notes
Martin Van Buren 1837–1841 Defeated in the general election 1844 Lost Failed in his attempt to win the nomination of the Democratic Party
1848 Lost First nominee of the newly formed Free Soil Party
Millard Fillmore 1850–1853 Denied nomination by his party 1856 Lost Nominee for the American Party (Know Nothing)
Ulysses S. Grant 1869–1877 Retired 1880 Lost Failed in his attempt to win the nomination of the Republican Party
Grover Cleveland 1885–1889 Defeated in the general election 1892 Won Only president to succeed at his comeback attempt, served four more years.
Theodore Roosevelt 1901–1909 Retired 1912 Lost Nominee of the Progressive Party (Bull Moose), after he was denied the nomination of the Republican Party.
Herbert Hoover 1929–1933 Defeated in the general election 1940 Lost Failed in his attempt to win the nomination of the Republican Party
  • Some basic information about every of the mentioned presidents, even if present in other answers, would make it defenetly a beter answer.
    – convert
    May 17, 2023 at 14:36
  • Unfortunately there are problems with the formatting of the table.
    – user46520
    May 18, 2023 at 12:11
  • Yes creating tables here is not so easy, but saw how it should look like on wikipedia.
    – convert
    May 18, 2023 at 14:22

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