- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2018

Mitt Romney has declared his intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah. But what are his chances of winning, historically speaking? Not so good according to a unique analysis from Eric Ostermeier, a University of Minnesota political professor who gauged the odds for former presidential hopefuls who run for the lesser office.

A dozen have tried, but only three succeeded.

“With three former presidential candidates eying U.S. Senate bids in 2018 — Romney plus Michele Bachmann in Minnesota and Jim Gilmore in Virginia — I examined the electoral fate of such failed White House hopefuls in subsequent runs for seats in the nation’s upper legislative chamber in recent decades,” the professor explained in his analysis. “From 1972 to the present, there have been more than a dozen presidential candidates who later ran for the U.S. Senate. Just three of these candidacies were successful — all from the South, with two from North Carolina.”

Since 1972, the only candidates who lost their bid for president and then subsequently won a U.S. Senate election are North Carolina Democrat Terry Sanford in 1986, Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander in 2002 and North Carolina Republican Elizabeth Dole in 2002, Mr. Ostermeier said.

More than three times as many failed in their quest. And here they are:

New York Democrat John Lindsay (1980), California Democrat Sam Yorty (1980, as a Republican), California Democrat Jerry Brown (1982), Minnesota Democrat Eugene McCarthy (1982), Florida Democrat Reubin Askew (1988), Virginia Democrat Douglas Wilder (1994), Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale (2002), Georgia Republican Herman Cain (2004), Maryland Republican Alan Keyes (2004, in Illinois), Virginia Republican Jim Gilmore (2008) and Wisconsin Republican Tommy Thompson (2012).


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