Men Who Would Be President

Al Gore

Al Gore

Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson

Ross Perot

Ross Perot

In four of the six most recent presidential campaigns, Vanderbilt alumni have watched one of their own vie for his party’s nomination.

Al Gore was a front-runner in the 1988 Democratic race, winning on Super Tuesday. Gore served two terms as vice president before running for the top slot again in 2000. Gore received his party’s nomination and won the popular vote but ultimately lost the 2000 race, one of the most controversial elections in U.S. history.

Gore attended Vanderbilt University Graduate School in 1971-72 and Vanderbilt Law School from 1974 to 1976, when he left to run for Congress.

Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, BA’62, ran in the 1996 Republican
primary race, finishing third in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. In 2000 Alexander ran again. He now serves as the senior U.S. senator from Tennessee.

Early in the current election cycle, Fred Thompson, JD’67, was considered the preferred candidate for many conservatives. The actor and former U.S. senator dropped out of the race in late January.

Then there’s Ross Perot. The Texas billionaire never attended Vanderbilt–but four of his five children did, and one grandchild, Henry Ross Perot III, is a rising senior in the College of Arts and Science. Ross Perot made history in the 1992 presidential election as the most successful third-party candidate since Teddy Roosevelt, winning nearly 19 percent of the popular vote. He went on to found the Reform Party and ran as its nominee in 1996, winning 8 percent of the popular vote.


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