Mike Pence Has Joined a Dubious Club of Former Vice Presidents – Former Vice President Mike Pence has joined a very small yet dubious club – he has become just one of only six individuals who held the second highest office in the land for just a single term and then attempted to run for president.
While it worked out for Thomas Jefferson, who actually ran against then-sitting President John Adams, the four others lost.
Mike Pence Failed
Pence, who dropped his bid for the Republican president nomination on Saturday declaring, “It’s become clear to me: This is not my time,” will now join the ranks of John C. Breckinridge, Charles W. Fairbanks, Walter Mondale, and Dan Quayle – all of whom lost, while three of those former candidates didn’t even receive their party’s nomination.
Failure to Launch
Breckinridge, who served as VEEP to President James Buchanan, ran against Abraham Lincoln – receiving just 18.1 percent of the popular vote. Fairbanks, vice president during Theodore Roosevelt’s second term, is noteworthy for he attempted to run twice; first in 1908 and then again in 1916. He failed to even receive the nomination.
Perhaps that explains why it wasn’t for nearly 70 years that a former vice president who served only a single term even attempted to throw his proverbial hat into the ring.
It was only in 1984 that Walter Mondale, President Carter’s vice president, sought to run against President Ronald Reagan. Though he received the nomination, perhaps he might have wished he didn’t. He received just 40.6 percent of the popular vote – but only won his home state of Minnesota, with the election becoming the greatest landslide in U.S. history.
Pence Was Already Dan Quayle 2.0
Few modern politicians would likely want their names to be said in the same breath as Dan Quayle, who after serving as George H.W. Bush’s vice president, sought a comeback in 2000. Yet, Quayle didn’t even make the primary season, and after he finished eighth in the August 1999 Ames Straw Poll, he withdrew from the race.
Pence has been compared to Quayle in the past, as both one-term former VEEPs are sons of Indiana, and served in Congress. Quayle went on to be a U.S. senator, while Pence was elected governor.
Each man was known as a social-conservative champion, and according to the book “Peril,” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which chronicled the events surrounding the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol, Pence had turned to Quayle for insight on how he should respond.
Quayle was adamant, according to the authors that Pence had to refuse former President Donald Trump’s calls to deny electoral votes to Joe Biden, telling Pence, “Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away.”
It has been suggested that Quayle may have helped save democracy thanks to their brief conservation.
Perhaps Pence should have called another time to ask if he should even attempt to run for president. Quayle could have given sage advice on that matter.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.