Which US presidents won the White House, but lost their birth-state?
At one point in an episode of the hit US political drama the West Wing, it is said that President Jed Bartlett would rather lose the election that lose his home state of New Hampshire. In the end, Bartlett wins both, but it prompts the question: which presidents lost the state they were born in?
1. Andrew Jackson
Jackson was born in the Waxhaw area in between North and South Carolina before the borders were fully established, with the best estimates indicating that he was born South Carolina. He went on to spend most of his political career in Tennessee, where he served as a senator and representative before going on to become America’s 8th president. He won the 1832 election, but lost his birth-state in the process.
2. William Henry Harrison
Harrison was America’s shortest-serving US president, lasting just one month in office. He was born in what would become the state of Virginia, and won the 1840 election for the Whigs, losing Virginia in the process.
3. James K. Polk
Four years after Harrison’s victory, Democratic candidate Polk defeated Whig Henry Clay in a tight presidential battle. He was born in North Carolina, and lost the state to Clay. On top of that, he also lost Tennessee, his state of residence at the same election.
4. Zachary Taylor
One of five US presidents to have never held elected office before becoming president, this Whig was born in Virginia, which he lost in 1848. He lasted only a year and a half in office, dying of illness in July 1850.
5. Abraham Lincoln
Born in Kentucky, this Republican giant lost his birth state at both of his elections, the first in 1860 then in 1864. His time as America’s sixteenth president was cut short when he was assassinated in 1865. His Vice President Andrew Johnson took over to become the country’s seventeenth president.
6. George H. W. Bush
Bush senior, one of America’s most politically experienced presidents, won the 1988 election after eight years as Ronald Reagan’s vice president. He was born in Massachusetts, but spent a lot of his time in Texas before entering politics due to his work in oil. Massachusetts is one of America’s most progressive states, so it is no wonder that Bush lost it in the 1988 election to Bill Clinton.
7. George W. Bush
Like father like son, Bush junior lost his birth-state to the Democrats, once to Al Gore and once to John Kerry. Bush was born in Connecticut, but spent much of his life in Texas where he became governor in 1995. At both the 2000 and 2004 elections, Bush lost Connecticut, but won Texas by significant margins.
8. Donald Trump
In a double whammy for the incumbent president, Trump lost New York in 2016’s presidential election, a state which is his birth state and state of residence. On top of that, Trump also lost the popular vote. While his overall victory came as a surprise, it must have been a bitter-sweet win for the latest Republican leader.