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This is a list of all the articles on this wiki about real-life politicians who were elected to political offices or appointed to national cabinet positions, but have never become a national head of state or head of government (i.e., president, prime minister or equivalent rank) in charge of their whole country's government.

For those politicians who did become national government leaders, see Heads of State.

Political officeholders (all politicians who are not or have never been head of state):


  • Lenore Zann: Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River (2009–2019, just called Truro-Bible Hill until 2013), member of the House of Commons for Cumberland—Colchester (2019–2021).


  • Victor Hugo: Pair de France (1845–1848), Deputy of the Seine (1848–1851, 1871), Senator of the Seine (1876–1885).
  • Germain Muller: Served as a city councillor in Strasbourg from 1959–1989.



  • Franco Zeffirelli: Senator from 1994–2001 for the centre-right Forza Italia party.


  • Ken Akamatsu: Won election to a seat in the House of Councillors in 2022.
  • Antonio Inoki: Served two terms as House Councilor from 1989–1994 and 2013–2019.
  • Masanori Murakawa: Elected as Assemblyman for the Iwate Prefecture in 2003.



  • Manny Pacquiao: A boxing icon and entertainer who also served as a Sarangani province representative from 2010–2016 and then senator from 2016–2022.
  • Raffy Tulfo: A veteran broadcaster from a prominent family of journalists. Elected senator since 2022.


  • Mia Mulder: City council member of Sollentuna, Sweden (2022–present).

United Kingdom

  • Lord Castlereagh: Tory Foreign Secretary and Chief Secretary of Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Nick Clegg: Liberal Democrat politician who served as the Deputy Prime Minister in the 2010–2015 UK coalition government, Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands (1999–2004) and Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam (2005–2017).
  • Glenda Jackson: Labour MP who represented Hampstead and Highgate from 1992 until 2010, then Hampstead and Kilburn until she retired from the House of Commons in 2015; also a successful actress.
  • Fitzroy Maclean: Conservative MP who represented Lancaster from 1941 to 1959, then Bute and Northern Ayrshire until 1974.
  • Peter Mandelson: Labour politician, one of several key people responsible for the rebranding of the party as New Labour before its victory in the 1997 election, held many political officesnote  and constant tabloid bait.
  • David Owen: Foreign Secretary (1977–1979) who left Labour to help found the Social Democratic Party, and in turn left said party after opposing its merger with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats; Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton from 1966 to 1974, then MP for Plymouth Devonport until 1992, and peer in the House of Lords since.
  • Dennis Skinner: Long-serving (1970–2019), acerbic left-wing Labour MP for Bolsover.

United States

  • Spiro Agnew (R–MD): U.S. Vice President (1969–1973), Governor of Maryland (1967–1969).
  • Madeleine Albright (D–CO): U.S. Secretary of State (1997–2001), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1993–1997).
  • Jerry Brown (D–CA): Governor of California (34th, 1975–1983, then 39th, 2011–2019), spent some time in between running for different offices and re-inventing himself.
  • William Jennings Bryan (D–NE): Populist Democratic U.S. Representative from Nebraska (1891–1895) and multiple-time presidential candidate known for his advocacy of bimetallism and later for defending creationism in the Scopes trial.
  • Dick Cheney (R–WY): Wyoming Representative and 46th Vice President of the United States.
  • Shirley Chisholm (D–NY): New York congresswoman who became the first black woman to be elected to the United States Congress, the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and the first black woman to run for president.
  • Henry Clay (W–KY): Kentucky Congressman and federal Secretary of State who made many important contributions to the nation during the 19th century.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton (D–NY): Former First Lady (to Bill Clinton), former U.S. Senator (D–NY) from 2001-2009, presidential candidate in 2008 and 68th Secretary of State under Barack Obama (2009–2013). Democratic nominee for President for 2016 and the popular vote winner in that election, and the first woman to be nominated for that office by a major party in the country's history (the latest in a long, long line of 'firsts'note ). She and her husband are something of a political institution; when she left the State Department in 2013, it was the first time in 30 years that neither one of them was serving in the federal or state government.
  • Davy Crockett (W–TN): Early-19th-century soldier and politician from Tennessee, he served as a legislator in the Tennessee General Assembly (state legislature) and later the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a member of the National Republican (Anti-Jacksonian) Party, but later defected to the Whig Party. Left for Texas after his last U.S. House defeat and took part in the Texas Revolution, dying at The Alamo.
  • Eugene Debs (S–IN): Labor union activist and Socialist Party politician who served in the Indiana General Assembly (state legislature), and ran five times as a presidential candidate.
  • Bob Dole (R–KS): U.S. Senator from Kansas (1969–1996), Senate Majority Leader (1985–1987 and 1995–1996), U.S. Representative from Kansas (1961–1969), 1976 Republican vice presidential nominee (when Gerald Ford tried to win a full term), 1996 Republican presidential nominee.
  • Michael Dukakis (D–MA): Governor of Massachusetts (67th then 69th, 1975–1979 and 1983–1991), 1988 Democratic presidential nominee.
  • Clint Eastwood (L–CA): A film icon since the 1960s as both an actor (the Dollars Trilogy, the Dirty Harry franchise) and director (Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby), Eastwood has also been politically active. Currently a registered Libertarian, but also a Republican and independent in the past, he served as the non-partisan mayor of Carmel, California from 1986 to 1988.
  • Geraldine Ferraro (D–NY): U.S. Representative from New York's 9th district (1979–1985), 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee with Walter Mondale.
  • Al Franken (D–MN): Saturday Night Live writer turned liberal pundit turned U.S. Senator starting in 2009. Resigned in 2018 following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • Benjamin Franklin (I–PA): One of America's Founding Fathers, and perhaps the most famous one who was never president. Famously appears on the $100 bill.
  • Bill Fries Jr. (R–CO): Mayor of Ouray, Colorado (1986–1992). Originally an advertising executive, he became best known for his music career as C. W. McCall.
  • Newt Gingrich (R-GA): Speaker of the House of Representatives (1995–1999), Minority Whip (1989–1995), U.S. Representative from Georgia's 6th district (1979–1999). Also taught history at West Georgia College (now the University of West Georgia), wrote Alternate History and Historical Fiction, and ran for president in 2012 (eventually losing the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney).
  • John Glenn (D–OH): American astronaut who served as Senator from 1974 to 1999.
  • Barry Goldwater (R–AZ): Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987), 1964 Republican presidential nominee.
  • Al Gore (D–TN): Representative from Tennessee from 1977–1985 (6th District until 1983, subsequently 4th District), US Senator (D-TN) from 1985–1993, presidential candidate in 1988, Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton, Democratic nominee for president in 2000, environmentalist, filmmaker, and founder of cable TV network Current.
  • Fred Grandy (R–IA): American actor who served as a Representative from 1987 to 1995.
  • Alexander Hamilton (F–NY): American Founding Father and first Secretary of the Treasury. He's also on the $10 bill. He was somewhat obscure until the advent of a certain musical.
  • Kamala Harris (D–CA): U.S. Vice President under Joe Biden (2021–present), Senator from California (2017–2021), Attorney General of California (2011–2017), District Attorney of San Francisco (2004–2011).
  • Hubert Humphrey (D–MN): Mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota (1945–1948) and Minnesota Senator (1949–1964), he was chosen to be the 38th Vice President to Lyndon Johnson for his heavy endorsement of civil rights. In office from 1965 to 1969. Ran against Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential election, but lost. He went back to the Senate and served from 1971 until his death in 1978. The Metrodome, former home of the Twins and Vikings, was named for him.
  • Daniel Inouye (D-HI): Former Hawaii Representative-at-large (1959–1963), Senator (1963–2012), and President Pro Tempore of the Senate (2010–2012). He passed away from respiratory disease at age 88 on December 17, 2012.
  • Glenn "Kane" Jacobs (R–TN): A semi-retired professional wrestler and the Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee since 2018.
  • Robert F. Kennedy (D–MA): Younger brother of John F. Kennedy, Attorney General from 1961 until 1964, Senator from New York from 1965 until 1968, and a possible Democratic presidential nominee in 1968. He was assassinated before the primaries ended.
  • Ted Kennedy (D-MA): Younger brother of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, senator of Massachusetts from 1962 until his death in 2009,note  was seen as an elder statesman of the Democratic Party. Infamously challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential primaries.
  • John Kerry (D–MA): Lieutenant Governor (1983–1985) and Senator from Massachusetts (1985–2013), Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, 69th Secretary of State under Barack Obama (2013–2017).
  • Henry Kissinger (R–MA): U.S. Secretary of State (1973–1977), National Security Advisor (1969–1973).
  • Amy Klobuchar (D–MN): Senator from Minnesota (2007–present), candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 election.
  • John Lewis (D–GA): A leader in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and U.S. Representative from Georgia's 5th District from 1987 until his death in 2020.
  • Huey Long (D–LA): Infamous Louisiana politician of notable interest: Governor (1928–1932) and Senator (1932–1935), his Senate career was cut short by his assassination.
  • Joseph McCarthy (R–WI): Anti-communist Republican senator who served from 1947 until he drank himself to death in 1957. The term "McCarthyism" is named for him.
  • John McCain (R–AZ): U.S. Representative (1983–1987) and Senator (1987–2018), former Republican nominee for president in 2008 and former prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. His 2008 campaign was unusually overshadowed by his vice-presidential pick, Sarah Palin. After said election he became an elder statesman for the Republican Party until his death in August 2018 from brain cancer.
  • George McGovern (D–SD): U.S. Representative from South Dakota's 1st district (1957–1961), U.S. Senator from South Dakota (1963–1981), 1972 Democratic presidential nominee.
  • Robert McNamara (R–CA): 8th Secretary of Defense (1961–1968) under John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.
  • Harvey Milk (D–CA): Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (1978) and was the first openly gay official in California and served until he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White the same year.
  • Walter Mondale (D–MN): U.S. Vice President (1977–1981), U.S. Senator from Minnesota (1964–1976), Attorney General of Minnesota (1960–1964).
  • Matt Morgan (R–FL): Professional wrestler turned politician: He served as District 4 City Commissioner of Longwood, Florida in 2017 and then its Mayor since 2019.
  • Gavin Newsom (D–CA): Governor (2019–present) of California. He previously served as Lt. Governor to Jerry Brown during the latter's second governorship (2011–2019) and as Mayor of San Francisco from 2004 until 2011.
  • Kristi Noem (R–SD): Governor of South Dakota since 2019. Previously served as its representative from 2011 to 2019.
  • Tito Ortiz (R–CA): Mixed Martial Artist and actor who served as a member of the Huntington Beach City Council (2020–2021).
  • Sarah Palin (R–AK): Governor of Alaska from 2006–2009, 2008 Republican candidate for US Vice President.
  • David Paterson (D–NY): Governor of New York from 2008–2010, previously the Lt. Governor from 2007–2008.
  • Ron Paul (L–TX): Representative from Texas (22nd District from 1976–1977 and 1979–1985, 14th District from 1997–2013), perennial Presidential candidate (he was a GOP candidate in 2008 and 2012 and the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988).
  • Nancy Pelosi (D–CA): Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007–2011, 2019–2023), U.S. Representative from California, currently from the 12th District and formerly the 8th District (1987–present).
  • Mike Pence (R–IN): U.S. Vice President (2017–2021), Governor of Indiana (2013–2017), U.S. Representative from Indiana's 2nd and 6th Districts (2001–2013).
  • Dan Quayle (R–IN): U.S. Vice President (1989–1993), U.S. Senator from Indiana (1981–1989), U.S. Representative from Indiana's 4th District (1977–1981).
  • Harry Reid (D–NV): Senate Majority Leader (2007–2015), U.S. Senator from Nevada (1987–2017), U.S. Representative from Nevada's 1st district (1983–1987), Lieutenant Governor of Nevada (1971–1975).
  • Nelson Rockefeller (R–NY): U.S. Vice President (1974–1977), Governor of New York (1959–1973).
  • Mitt Romney (R–UT): Governor of Massachusetts (2003–2007), 2012 Republican presidential nominee, U.S. Senator (2019–present).
  • Donald Rumsfeld (R–IL): U.S. Secretary of Defense (2001–2006, 1975–1977), White House Chief of Staff (1974–1975), U.S. Ambassador to NATO (1973–1974), U.S. Representative from Illinois's 13th district (1963–1969).
  • Leo Ryan (D–CA): Member of the California State Assembly (1963–1973) and U.S. Representative (1973–1978), he served in the House until his assassination in 1978.
  • Bernie Sanders (I–VT): Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981–1989), U.S. Representative (1991–2007), U.S. Senator (2007–present). An independent Senator who caucuses with Democrats in Congress. Widely considered to be the most politically progressive member of the Senate, if not the entirety of Congress, and is incredibly popular on the Internet. Ran for President in 2016 (as a Democrat, to some controversy), and lost the primary to Hillary Clinton. Ran for president again (as a Democrat, again, to even more controversy) for the 2020 nomination, but the nomination went to Joe Biden, who went on to win the general election.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger (R–CA): Movie Action Hero turned Republican Governator of California (2003–2011).
  • Alexander Stephens (D–GA): U.S. Representative from Georgia (1843–1859, 1873–1882),note  Confederate States Vice President (1861–1865), Governor of Georgia (1882–1883).
  • Thaddeus Stevens (R–PA): A Radical Republican Representative from 1859 to 1868.
  • Adlai Stevenson I (D–IL): U.S. Vice President during Grover Cleveland's second presidency (1893–1897), U.S. Representative from Illinois's 13th District (1875–1877 and 1879–1881).
  • Adlai Stevenson II (D–IL): U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1961–1965), Governor of Illinois (1949–1953), 1952 and 1956 Democratic presidential nominee (losing twice to Dwight D. Eisenhower), grandson of Adlai I, noted above.
  • Shirley Temple (R–CA): U.S. Ambassador to Ghana (1974–1976), U.S. Chief of Protocol (1976–1977), and U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1989–1992).
  • Fred Thompson (R–TN): Attorney turned actor turned politician. Served as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1994–2003) and later made an unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008.
  • Jesse Ventura (I–MN): Former professional wrestler turned Reform Party (later Independence Party of Minnesota) Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003.


  • Ian Smith: Prime Minister of Rhodesia (1964–1979) and leader of the Opposition in the Zimbabwe Parliament (1980–1987).