Cover art for podcast Candidate Confessional - Defeated Politicians Tell All

Candidate Confessional - Defeated Politicians Tell All

41 EpisodesProduced by HuffPostWebsite

Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and other elected office; those defined by YouTube moments and others who fell by painf… read more

41 Episodes | 2016 - 2017

This Democrat Says The Party Needs To Reinvent Itself In The Era Of Trump

October 4th, 2017


Virginia Democrat Tom Perriello lost his congressional seat in the Tea Party wave of 2010. In 2017, he jumped back in the ring with a run for Governor, and his primary race against Ralph Northam was viewed as another …

What It’s Like To Be At The Center Of One Of The Biggest Political Sex Scandals In American History

September 27th, 2017


In 2006, John Edwards hired Rielle Hunter to produce a series of videos that would help lay the groundwork for his planned presidential run. That she …

These Two Senators Voted Against The Iraq War. They Thought They Were Ending Their Careers

September 20th, 2017


When Senators Kent Conrad and Dick Durbin cast their votes against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, they knew it was unlikely they’d be able to stop …

The Only Person Ever To Lose An Election To Mitt Romney

September 13th, 2017


In 2002, Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien decided to throw her hat in the ring in the race for governor. Her opponent would be one …

The South Florida Dem Who Got Hacked By The Russians

September 6th, 2017


In early 2016, the race for the 26th congressional district looked like it was shaping up to be a pretty standard Florida election, as Democrat Annette Taddeo took on incumbent Republican Carlos Curbelo. To her …

Revisiting The Last Disaster In The Gulf

August 30th, 2017


In the Spring of 2010, one of the worst environmental disasters in history occurred when the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of …

What It Was Like To Be An Openly Gay Politician In 1996

August 23rd, 2017


In 1996, two of congress’s only 3 openly gay members were set to retire; only Barney Frank would be left standing. To fill the void, two new gay …

The Day The Global Economy Stood Still

August 16th, 2017


In the fall of 2008, President George W. Bush warned top political leaders that without a massive infusion of cash into the market, "this sucker" -- …

The Real History Of The Infamous Compromise Behind Don't Ask Don't Tell

August 9th, 2017


In 1994, Bill Clinton signed a directive allowing gays to serve in the military, provided they concealed their sexual identity. That policy -- Don't …

The Senate Candidate Who Put Together An AR-15 Blindfolded

August 2nd, 2017


Jason Kander ran what was widely considered one of the best Senate campaigns of the 2016 cycle. He combined an impressive resume with youthful vigor …

How A Tea Party Darling Was Undone By Hubris, Drugs, and Washington D.C. (But Mainly Drugs)

July 26th, 2017


Trey Radel had a promising congressional career ahead of him -- before it all came crashing down one night after he attempted to purchase cocaine from an undercover agent. In that moment, he became a cautionary tale and …

How A Conservative Writer Became A Target For The Alt-Right

July 19th, 2017


David French never thought he'd run for office, let alone the White House. But in the spring of 2016, as the Never Trump movement was growing desperate for a candidate, his name was floated by conservative stalwart Bill …

What It’s Like to Campaign Against Donald Trump And Vladimir Putin At The Same Time

July 12th, 2017


When Donald Trump won the Republican presidential primary, most Democrats cheered their good fortune. Not the Clinton campaign. They worried about an unconventional opponent who had already humiliated one establishment …

How One Senator Found His Calling In The Wake Of Tragedy

July 5th, 2017


Chris Murphy never thought much about gun control when he was serving in the House. In fact, he often parroted the NRA's talking points out of …

The Incredible Inside Story Of How Bernie Sanders Raised $218 Million Online

June 28th, 2017


When Bernie Sanders launched his presidential campaign, he needed someone to do his online fundraising. He chose the team at Revolution Messaging (or …

Coming Soon: Candidate Confessional Season 2

June 21st, 2017


Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis will go back to look at some of the biggest stories from campaigns past - the scandals, the policy battles, the failures …

BONUS: The Rise And Fall Of James Comey

May 11th, 2017


Candidate Confessional season 2 approaches! In the meantime, host Sam Stein sits down with Huffpost's senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly and former Department of Justice spokesperson Matthew Miller to discuss …

BONUS: Huffpost's All-Star Trumpcare Panel

May 5th, 2017


Candidate Confessional Season 2 is on the way! But in the meantime, we assembled a panel of Huffpost healthcare reporters to chew on yesterday's legislative bombshell: the House's passage of an Obamacare repeal/replace …

The Man Who Tried To Help Al Gore Win The White House

June 6th, 2016


The 2000 presidential election was 16 years ago. But for Ron Klain, a lawyer for Vice President Al Gore, the loss still hurts. Klain sits down with Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis to explain the intricate …

Gary Johnson On His Run For President

May 29th, 2016


Gary Johnson was the governor of New Mexico before he decided to embark on a presidential run in 2012. Johnson talks to Huffington Post's Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis about his presidential bid as a libertarian, and why …

An Obama-Backing Democrat On The Craziness Of Those First Two Years

May 23rd, 2016


Tom Perriello eked out one of the closest wins in the 2008 cycle. But rather than tack to the ideological middle once in office, he chose instead to …

Jesse Jackson On His Two White House Runs

May 16th, 2016


In 1984, Jesse Jackson grew convinced that for black Americans to advance their political causes, they needed a black candidate for president. The …

Sandra Fluke On Her Run For State Senate

May 8th, 2016


When Sandra Fluke was called a "slut" by Rush Limbaugh, simply for advocating for insurance coverage of contraception, she faced a choice: step back from the spotlight or fight back. She chose the latter, in the process …

Jeb Bush's Communications Director On His Run For The White House

May 1st, 2016


Jeb Bush's campaign for the White House ended far more disastrously than many people predicted. In the latest episode, Bush's communications director, Tim Miller, offers several reasons why. He also offers unique …

Clay Aiken On His 2014 Congressional Campaign

April 25th, 2016


When Clay Aiken ran for Congress in 2014, most people assumed it was a vanity project: a former American Idol star trying to hack it in politics. But …

Jon Huntsman On His 2012 Presidential Campaign

April 18th, 2016


Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign never took off in 2012, despite being the candidate that President Obama feared most. Looking back, the former Utah Governor has several theories why, foremost among them that his …

The Pain Of Losing By Four Votes

April 11th, 2016


When Karl Kassel was recruited to run for a state Senate seat in Alaska, he had no idea just how historic his race would be. Out of 10,000 votes …

Martin O'Malley Opens Up About His Presidential Campaign

April 4th, 2016


Martin O'Malley brought an impressive resume to his 2016 White House run: a young, former governor with progressive results. But it never seemed to …

Anthony Weiner Relives His Run For Mayor Of New York City

March 28th, 2016


When Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011, his career in politics appeared over, crushed by a scandal in which he sent lurid tweets and …

Richard Carmona On His 2012 Senate Campaign

March 20th, 2016


For years Richard Carmona resisted pleas from both parties to run for office. He was a former U.S. Surgeon General under George W. Bush, a one-time …

How The Hell Do You Lose To Rob Ford?

March 14th, 2016


Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto, is known for many things: an outlandish personality, offensive language, and, of course, the times he was …

Newt Gingrich's Odd And Wonderful 2012 Campaign

March 7th, 2016


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is one of the most dramatic and divisive political figures in modern U.S. history. And when he ran for …

A Republican Dishes On The Dangers Of Being Bipartisan

February 29th, 2016


Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) got along well with the opposition throughout his career. He had good relations with Democrats and appeared on shows like …

Relive One Of The Worst Booings In Political History

February 22nd, 2016


During his campaign for mayor of Toledo in 2009, Ben Konop delivered a speech that became Internet lore. Appearing on the street where his mom grew …

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele On His 2006 Senate Campaign

February 15th, 2016


Before he became an MSNBC personality; before he became chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele ran for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. One of the best known African-American Republicans in the …

Tim Pawlenty On His Presidential Run

February 8th, 2016


Tim Pawlenty had everything a Republican presidential candidate should have. He was a governor with a blue-collar conservative brand and the best …

Wendy Davis On Her Run For Governor

February 1st, 2016


Wendy Davis became an icon in 2013 when she stood on the floor of the Texas Senate for nearly 13 hours to beat back anti-abortion legislation. …

Mitt Romney's Top Aide On The White House Run

January 25th, 2016


Mitt Romney's run for the White House in 2012 featured incredible highs (a boffo debate performance against Barack Obama) and excruciating lows (a widely-panned trip abroad). Behind it all was Stu Stevens, his senior …

Michele Bachmann On Her Run For The White House

January 18th, 2016


Former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was one of most provocative conservative in Congress. She parlayed that reputation into a brief stint as a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. It didn't …

Howard Dean on His Presidential Campaign

January 14th, 2016


In the 2004 campaign, Howard Dean went from being a little known governor of Vermont to a leading Democratic presidential candidate, surging on his opposition to the Iraq war. And then, it all came crashing down, …

Welcome To Candidate Confessional

January 11th, 2016


Everyone loses. But some losses sting worse than others. This is a podcast about tough defeats. Hosts Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who came up short in their bid for president, governor, senator and …

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