slides: MA’s Biggest Political Comebacks in History
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
While multiple candidates are vying for redemption at the polls this year, a number of notable names top the list for those who did it before.
See Biggest Comebacks BELOW
Political consultant Tad Devine pointed to one particular example that stood out to him.
"As to historic past comebacks, John Kerry was trailing Bill Weld in the senate race as late as September in 1996. He went on to win a decisive victory against a popular incumbent governor," said Devine. "That was a big comeback, and without it he would not have been the nominee for President in '04 and probably would not be the Secretary of State today."
Related Slideshow: MA’s Biggest Political Comebacks in History
Congressman Jim McGovern
Lost first congressional run in 1994
McGovern first ran for Congress in 1994, but lost in the Democratic primary to Massachusetts State Representative Kevin O’Sullivan. McGovern ran again two years later and defeated Republican incumbent Peter Blute.
He would go on to be re-elected seven times to Massachusetts’ 3rd congressional district. Now in his ninth term, McGovern currently represents Massachusetts’ 2nd congressional district. He serves as the second ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
Former Gov. Michael Dukakis
Lost 1978 Democratic gubernatorial primary
After serving one term as Governor of Massachusetts, Dukakis was defeated by Edward King in the 1978 Democratic primary. Despite the major defeat, Dukakis was able to beat King four years later in the Democratic primary and would go on to win the general election against Republican opponent John Winthrop Sears. Dukakis also won re-election in 1986.
In addition to serving three terms as Governor, Dukakis also served four terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was the Democratic Presidential nominee in 1988. Dukakis went on to serve for over a decade as a visiting professor at Northeastern University and as a lecturer in public management at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney
Lost 1994 US Senate Race
After losing the 1994 U.S. Senate race to incumbent Ted Kennedy, Romney staged a huge political comeback in 2002 when he was elected Governor of Massachusetts. During his tenure, Romney signed Massachusetts’ health reform law, also known as “Romneycare” into law. In 2008, Romney ran an unsuccessful bid to secure his party’s Presidential nomination, but would go on to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012.
Romney has kept a low profile since losing to President Obama, but did join the board of Marriott International for a third stint as a director in December 2012. Outside of politics, Romney's positions have included being CEO of Bain Capital and president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2012 Winter Olympic Games.
Former House Speaker Tip O’Neill
Lost first ever electoral bid
Although he is known as the second longest-serving House Speaker in US history, O’Neill’s political career actually began with defeat. In fact, O’Neill lost his first-ever electoral bid in 1932 when he ran for a seat on the Cambridge City Council. The defeat would prove to be an anomaly for O’Neill who would go on to be elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1936 and later, the US House of Representatives in 1953. During his 34-year tenure in the US House, O’Neill served as Speaker from 1977 until his retirement in 1987.
After his retirement, O’Neill published an autobiography in 1987 and was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. He died in 1994 as the result of heart attack.
35th President John F. Kennedy
Lost vice presidential bid in 1956
Despite an unblemished electoral record that included being elected to the US House of Representatives in 1946 and the US Senate in 1952, Kennedy suffered an embarrassing loss in 1956 when he was the vice presidential candidate for Adlai Stevenson. One of the most lopsided elections in presidential history, incumbent President Dwight D. Eisenhower won 457 electoral vote compared to just 73 for Stevenson.
Kennedy would go on to win the presidency four years later by defeating then-Vice President Richard Nixon. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and is remembered as one of the most influential presidents in US history.
Former Senator Ted Kennedy
Lost 1980 Democratic presidential primary
After serving 18 years in the US Senate, Kennedy made his one and only bid for the presidency in 1980 and was defeated in the Democratic primary by incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Despite the tough loss, Kennedy would go on to serve in the US Senate until 2009, making him the fourth longest-serving senator in US history.
During his 47-year tenure, Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws that addressed health insurance, immigration, civil rights, education, and mental health benefits. He died of brain cancer in 2009.