Oldest Presidential Nominees
Who have been the oldest candidates for President?
Senator John McCain will be 72 on Election Day 2008. This makes him the second oldest first-time major party nominee in Presidential election history. Here are first-time major party Presidential nominees nominated at age 65 or older. Listed after the name is the candidate’s age on Election Day and the year of the election. At the end of each listing is the lifespan of the candidate.
( Please click here for a list of the youngest Presidents)
1. Bob Dole 73,1996–Senator Dole finally got his turn as Republican nominee. Lost to Bill Clinton. ( 1923- )
2. John McCain, 72, 2008—Republican running against man who would be one of our youngest Presidents. (1936-)
3. Ronald Reagan, 69, 1980—Oldest man to win a Presidential election. Renominated at age 73. This Republican beat Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale in 1984. (1911-2004)
Staute of William Henry Harrison in Downtown Cincinnati
4. William Henry Harrison, 67, 1840–Harrison ran as regional nominee of Whigs as part of a failed plan to defeat Martin Van Buren in 1836. In 1840 Harrison was nominee of entire party. He was elected but died one month into his term. Beat Mr. Van Buren. (1773-1841)
5. Lewis Cass, 66, 1848—Democrat was longtime territorial Governor of Michigan and a Secretary of War to Andrew Jackson. Lost to Whig Zachary Taylor. (1782-1866)
6. James Buchanan, 65, 1856—A Democrat who would have been a lousy President at any age. Watched helplessly as Union fell apart. Defeated Republican John Fremont. (1791-1868)
Others have reached age 65 in the years between a first nomination and a subsequent nomination.
These men are—
George H.W. Bush—68 when renominated in 1992. Lost to then Governor Clinton ( 1924- )
Henry Clay—67 at time of final failed attempt in 1844. Lost to James Polk. (1777-1852)
Dwight Eisenhower— 66 when winning second term in 1956 . Beat Adlai Stevenson. (1890-1969)
Andrew Jackson—65 for second term win in 1832. Beat Henry Clay. ( 1767-1845)
John Adams—65 in failed 1800 reelection bid. Lost to Thomas Jefferson. (1735-1826)
(Please click here for a list of the best popular vote totals in a Presidential election.)