Five Sitting Presidents Have Been Denied Their Party's Nominations

A look at history.  US presidential elections.It seems almost unimaginable - a sitting President not receiving their party's nomination to run for a second term.

This has, however, happened FIVE times in the history of the United States.

In four of the cases, the men who didn't receive the nomination were not elected President. Instead, they took over due to the deaths of the sitting Presidents.

Only once did an ELECTED President not receive the nomination of his party.


The 14th President of the United States was Franklin Pierce, a Democrat who won election in 1852.

Democrats had grown tired of Pierce, mainly due to his stance on slavery (especially controversial was his signing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and his enforcing of the Fugitive Slave Act). At the 1856 Democratic Convention, Pierce was defeated on the 17th ballot by James Buchanan.

Without his party's nomination, Pierce would become the first and only elected President (as of right now) to not receive the nomination of his party.


As mentioned, there were four times that somebody took over for a deceased President but didn't end up winning the nomination of his party.

John Tyler took over as President in 1841 following the death of William Henry Harrison. The Whig Party, however, decided to go in a different direction in 1844, nominating Henry Clay for President.

Millard Fillmore took over as President in 1850 following the death of Zachary Taylor, though General Winfield Scott won the nomination of the Whigs in 1852.

Andrew Johnson took over as President for Abraham Lincoln, though failed to win the Democratic nomination in 1868, which instead went to Horatio Seymour.

Lastly, Chester Arthur took over as President in 1881 following the assassination of James Garfield, though he failed to win the nomination of the Republicans in 1884, which instead went to James Blaine.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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