From Ross Perot to Mitt Romney, Where Are the Failed Presidential Candidates Today?

Inside Edition takes a look back at the men who ran for president and where they ended up after they lost.

From those who came close to those who went down in flames, many have tried and failed to become president of the United States.

So where are they now?

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Bob Dole

In 1996, Kentucky Senator Bob Dole challenged Bill Clinton for the Oval Office but lost, giving Clinton four more years in the White House.

Dole’s run for presidency ended up costing him his political profession. The career politician gave up his Senate seat in order to run and with the loss, his replacement was already picked.

He left politics behind and focused on his law firm, activism, philanthropy and even published a book, One Soldier’s Story, about his time in the U.S. Army. Dole has also been an outspoken advocate for America's veterans.

In 2012, he endorsed Mitt Romney for president and in 2013 endorsed and campaigned for Chuck Hagel to become secretary of defense.

In 2016, he attended the GOP Convention in Cleveland and endorsed Donald Trump. While he did not speak at the event, he told CNN “Trump can win.”

(Image: Getty / Dole at 2016 GOP Convention)

Days before his 93rd birthday in July, he told CNN he spends his money on cappuccino: "It's so good, the way the Italians make them. So now I'm sort of an addict. I know you probably shouldn't drink coffee, but when you're 93, I think you can drink most anything.”

John McCain

In the historic 2008 presidential election, longtime Arizona Senator John McCain squared off against political neophyte, Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Many believed McCain would win the election over the less-experienced senator, but it was Obama who would go on to become the first African American president in history.

During the election cycle, McCain never stepped down from his post as senator and after his loss, he returned to work.

In the 2012 election, he endorsed Mitt Romney.

(Image: Getty / McCain Addressing the Senate in 2016)

During the 2016 election, he at first he refused to endorse Donald Trump and did not attend the RNC in July. He later quietly sanctioned the real estate tycoon, but pulled the endorsement following Trump’s disparaging comments about women in the now-infamous leaked Access Hollywood’s tape.

Mitt Romney

In 2012, Mitt Romney contested Obama’s bid for a second term and lost. The former Massachusetts governor retreated from politics and has since kept his life low-key and quiet since.

In the weeks and months after the election, he was photographed pumping gas, vacationing in Peru, eating fast food and going to the movies with his family.

A year after the election, he spoke to Fox News in his first interview since his loss and said: “I also recognize that having lost a presidential race does not give me the platform to be the spokesman for the party or try and tell people what they ought to do. After all, I’m the guy that lost.”

(Image: Getty / Romney Attending a 2016 College Football Game)

In early 2016, Romney emerged to denounce Donald Trump and warn his former party about the dangers and pitfalls of electing him as their nominee.


Al Gore

The former vice president to Bill Clinton famously ran in 2000 against George W. Bush for the Oval Office.

What followed was a notorious election that took weeks to determine. Bush was eventually declared the winner. While Gore won the popular vote, Bush took the electoral vote.

Following his loss, Gore retreated from politics, and began focusing all of his energy on climate change and environmental issues.

In 2006, he wrote and produced the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which showcased how climate change is changing our world.

Due to his hard work in bringing attention to the important cause, he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

(Image: Getty / Gore Being Interviewed in 2015)

In 2010, he and wife, Tipper, separated after 40 years of marriage.

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John Kerry

In 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry contested George W. Bush on the Democratic ticket and lost.

Much like McCain, he never gave up his Senate seat while he ran and returned to work after the election. He became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. In 2011, he was asked to help sort out the nation's economic issues as one of 12 members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

During the 2008 election, he famously endorsed Barack Obama and would later become his secretary of state after Hillary Clinton stepped down in 2012, shortly after the president was reelected.

(Image: Getty / Kerry Speaking in 2016)

Kerry currently holds the secretary of state position and will leave office once a new president is elected and a new cabinet is picked.

Third-Party Candidates

Ross Perot

In 1992, Texas billionaire Ross Perot shocked the political system while running as an Independent Party candidate against Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican George H.W. Bush.

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The businessman would go on to become the most successful third-party candidate in the history of the American politics. His campaign took a strange turn when he dropped out of the race during the height of his popularity, but he later re-emerged weeks before the election and managed to gain 19 percent of the popular vote.

Perot became the first independent presidential candidate since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 to win such a large share of the popular vote. Four years later, he took that momentum against Bob Dole and Clinton but did not collect the same amount of votes as before.

After his political aspirations fell apart 20 years ago, he went back to work and in 2000 sold his tech company, Perot Systems.

He then retired and eventually went on to write two autobiographies and contributed to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s autobiography in 2008.

In 2012, he publically supported Mitt Romney for president. It was the first time he endorsed a presidential candidate since he ran for office.

(Image: Getty / Perot Attending at 2014 Gala)

At 86, he still resides in Texas and has kept a low profile.

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Ralph Nader

From 1992 to 2008, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader ran for the presidency and lost every time. But many have accused him of changing the course of the 2000 election and accused him of taking away several key swing states from Al Gore, costing him the election.

Following his presidential losses, he returned to being an advocate for financial, environmental and marijuana reform and published a book.

Today, Nader occasionally contributes to The Washington Post and is a political pundit for many outlets.

In a 2016 interview, he told WBUR: “I think voters in a democracy should vote for anybody they want, including write-in or even themselves. I don’t believe in any kind of reprimand of voters who stray from the two-party tyranny.”

(Image: Getty / Nader Being Interviewed in 2015)

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