Can you name these would-be presidents?


By: Bambi Turner

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

For every newly-elected POTUS delivering a victory speech to cheering crowds, there's an opponent who didn't quite make the grade. Take our quiz to see how much you know about the people who were almost president.

What future president lost to Benjamin Harrison in the 1888 election?

Grover Cleveland was victorious in 1884 and 1892, but lost to Benjamin Harrison in 1888 -- making Cleveland the only president to serve non-consecutive terms.


What newspaper falsely gave the 1948 election to Dewey?

The Chicago Tribune was so assured of Thomas Dewey's victory over Harry Truman that it printed the now famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline before the results of the 1948 election were finalized.


Who lost to Barack Obama in the 2012 election?

After losing the Republican nomination to John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney finally made the ticket in 2012 -- only to lose the presidential race to Barack Obama.


Who tied with Aaron Burr in the 1800 presidential election?

Burr and Jefferson tied in the 1800 election, leaving the House of Representatives to pick the president. They chose Jefferson, leaving also-ran Burr understandably angry.


Aaron Burr was still vice president when he shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

Burr was still serving as vice president under Thomas Jefferson when he fatally shot Alexander Hamilton in a July 1804 duel.


What was Charles Evans Hughes doing before he threw his hat into the 1916 presidential race

Hughes was a Supreme Court justice when he ran for president in 1916. After losing to Woodrow Wilson, he went back to the Supreme Court and eventually became Chief Justice.


Al Gore narrowly lost to George Bush despite a recount in this state.

After two terms as vice president under Bill Clinton, Al Gore narrowly lost the 2000 election to George Bush, despite a careful recount in Florida -- where results were hotly contested.


How many votes separated President George Bush from also-ran Al Gore in Florida?

Just 537 votes separated the two candidates -- though the difference may be more or less depending on your definition of hanging chad.


Who did George McClellan run against in 1864 on an unsuccessful anti-war platform?

McClellan not only lost the 1864 election to Lincoln but also lost his consulting job with the railroads after his employer worried that bad blood between McClellan and Lincoln could cost the company business.


Before he ran for president, Adlai Stevenson was governor of this state.

Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson picked up just 89 electoral votes when he ran against Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.


Adlai Stevenson did better when he ran against Eisenhower again in 1956.

Stevenson picked up even fewer electoral votes in 1956 then he did in 1952, wining just 73 votes to Eisenhower's 457.


What issue won George Wallace 10 million votes in the 1968 presidential race?

Wallace won five states and 10 million votes in 1968 running on a pro-segregation ticket, but still lost soundly to Richard Nixon.


Where was Wallace when he was shot in an assassination attempt during his 1972 campaign?

A 1972 assassination attempt in Maryland left Wallace paralyzed.


This is the only state Walter Mondale won in his 1984 presidential campaign.

Mondale won only Washington D.C. and his home state of Minnesota in the 1984 race, giving him a mere 13 electoral votes against Ronald Reagan.


What was unusual about Mondale's pick for VP?

Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro for his running mate, making her the first female vice presidential candidate to run on a major party ticket.


How many times did Bob Dole run for president?

Dole ran three times -- in 1980, 1988 and 1996. In his final attempt in 1996, he lost to Bill Clinton by a whopping 220 electoral votes.


George Washington only narrowly won the presidential election in 1789.

Washington won by a landslide in both 1789 and 1792 -- mostly because he ran unopposed in both of his bids for president.


What year did a woman run for president for the first time?

Ohio's Victoria Woodhull ran under the Equal Rights Party in 1872 -- almost half a century before women even earned the right to vote.


What state is home to a museum dedicated to presidential losers?

Fascinated by presidential also-rans? Head to Norton, Kansas to check out the They Also Ran Gallery, where you'll find portraits of every almost-president.


What state did Michael Dukakis serve as governor of before running for president?

Dukakis was governor of Massachusetts before running against George Bush in the 1988 presidential election.


Which 2016 candidate climbed Mount Everest?

Before he was the Libertarian candidate for president in 2016, Gary Johnson scaled Mount Everest in 2003.


What department did Hillary Clinton represent before she attempted a presidential run in 2016?

Clinton served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. After she resigned to focus on her presidential campaign, she was replaced as Secretary of State by John Kerry.


How many electoral votes separated Clinton and Trump in the 2016 election?

Clinton lost the POTUS position by 74 electoral votes, earning 232 to Trump's 306.


Clinton was the first candidate to win the popular vote, but lose the election.

The 2016 election was the fifth time that a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election. It also happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000.


Donald Trump never ran for president before the 2016 race.

Contrary to rumor -- and despite mulling over presidential runs on multiple occasions -- Trump never officially ran for president until the 2016 election.


Who lost to John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential race?

In the early days of TV, the polished John F. Kennedy famously won over voters during a televised debate against opponent Richard Nixon.


What year did Nixon finally win a presidential election?

After losing in 1960, Nixon went on to win the 1968 race. Nixon won re-election in 1972, only to resign before the end of his term due to the Watergate scandal.


What year did Strom Thurmond run for president?

Thurmond lost to Dewey and Truman in the 1948 race while running on an anti-integration platform. Many years later, the public learned that the pro-segregation candidate fathered a child with an African-American woman during his youth.


How many years did Strom Thurmond serve in the Senate?

Despite his loss in the 1948 presidential race, Thurmond served in the Senate for 48 years and was still in office at the age of 100.


Who beat Samuel Tilden by one electoral vote to clench the 1876 presidential race?

Hayes won the presidency over Tilden in 1876 by a single, hotly-contested and highly-suspicious electoral vote.


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