Which post-election path will Romney follow?

Mitt Romney conceding the election to President Obama on November 7, 2012 in Boston.
Mitt Romney conceding the election to President Obama on November 7, 2012 in Boston.
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

After mostly disappearing from the public eye in the wake of the Nov. 6 election, former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) has resurfaced in recent days.

Photos have emerged of a much more casual Romney visiting Disneyland, pumping gas into his car and even sharing a tender Thanksgiving moment with his wife Ann at their home in La Jolla, Calif.

While guest hosting ABC’s The View in October,  Mrs. Romney was asked if her husband would run again for political office if he lost.

“Absolutely he will not run again,” she declared.

So instead of joining The Presidents Club, as Time’s Mike Duffy and Nancy Gibbs dubbed it in their recent book, Romney joins an exclusive club of living nominees who came up short.

Here’s a look at what these one-time presidential hopefuls did after their White House bids bottomed out.

2008: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

He beat back a 2010 primary challenge by former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) and went on to win his fifth term in the U.S. Senate. He’s the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. This year he surpassed fellow failed nominee and former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) to become the all-time leader in Meet the Press appearances with 66 (!).

2004: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

Like McCain, he stayed in the Senate, cruising to re-election in 2008 with 66% of the vote. He’s now the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and reportedly on President Obama’s shortlist to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2012, he played the role of Romney in the president’s debate prep sessions.

2000: Vice President Al Gore

After growing (and subsequently shaving off) a beard in the wake of his loss, Gore co-founded Current TV and earned some major awards for his work on environmental causes, starring in the Oscar-winning 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and winning a Grammy for the audio version of his book in 2009. He and his wife Tipper announced their separation in 2010.

1996: Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.)

Having resigned from the Senate during his presidential bid, Dole was out of public office for the first time in more than 45 years after his loss. He joined a Washington law firm and later lead a commission to investigate problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007. His wife Elizabeth was elected to the Senate from North Carolina in 2002 and lost a re-election bid in 2008.

1992: President George H.W. Bush

During his son’s presidency, the senior Bush partnered with fellow former President Bill Clinton to lead relief funds for the southeast Asian tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He also famously skydived to celebrate birthdays, most recently his 85th in 2009.

1988: Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-Mass.)

He returned to Massachusetts to complete his term as governor after losing to President Bush. He later became a professor at Northeastern University in Boston. After Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) died in 2009, Dukakis’ name was floated as a possible placeholder appointment until a successor was picked in the special election.

1984: Former Vice President Walter Mondale

After losing 49 states against President Reagan, the Minnesota native returned to private law practice in Minneapolis and later served as ambassador to Japan under President Clinton. In 2002, after Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) died in a plane crash less than two weeks before the election, Mondale replaced him on the ballot but lost to Norm Coleman.

Which post-election path will Romney follow?