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The Best and Worst of the 2012 Campaigns, Part II

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Thompson, the former governor of Wisconsin, is tied for worst hair of the cycle, Rothenberg writes.

Stockman lost bids for Congress in 1990 and 1992 before winning election to the U.S. House in 1994. But, alas, Stockman’s career took a dive again two years later in 1996, when he lost a bid for re-election against Nick Lampson. And Stockman kept his streak going two years later, when he lost a primary bid for Texas railroad commissioner. But this year, 18 years after his lone victory, Stockman ran again and won himself a seat in Congress.

Nolan, who served three terms in Congress during the 1970s, simply walked away from the House in 1980 to “remake” his life, and he wasn’t on anyone’s radar when he decided to run this cycle to end his more than three-decade hiatus.

Though I wrote a column almost 18 months ago about his comeback bid, I certainly didn’t think he would win the Democratic nomination in Minnesota’s 8th District, let alone the general election. (See “30 Years Later, Nolan Consiers Comeback Bid” from June 7, 2011.) But he did, making for a truly remarkable comeback story in a remarkable political year.

Stuart Rothenberg (@stupolitics) is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report (

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