2023’s biggest losers in politics

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Competitiveness is a cornerstone of American politics, so much so that it’s been called a blood sport at times. And, as in any competition, winners and losers always emerge.

Fox News Digital takes a look at some of the biggest political losers of 2023.

Lori Lightfoot

Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election campaign, which culminated in her loss to current Mayor Brandon Johnson, was marked by several self-inflicted wounds.

The former Democratic mayor took the brunt of criticism directed at city officials over the city’s rising rate of violent crime. Lightfoot also faced bipartisan blowback for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including clashes with progressives and the teachers union.

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Ex-Rep. George Santos, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and ex-Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Associated Press)

Glenn Youngkin

Youngkin’s upset victory in 2021 over former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe set him on a path to political stardom. The parental rights-focused Republican governor was almost immediately touted as a future presidential candidate, even possibly as early as 2024. 

But he staked his national reputation on Republicans winning the full Virginia legislature in November, even suggesting a 15-week abortion limit would be on the table if the commonwealth went red. 

Democrats, however, ended up flipping the Virginia House of Delegates while retaining control of the state Senate.

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Susanna Gibson

One Virginia Democrat who did not fare well in the latest election cycle, however, is Gibson, the nurse practitioner whose promising campaign for a swing seat in the House of Delegates was derailed by revelations laid bare just weeks before Election Day.

The Washington Post first reported that Gibson and her husband broadcast sex acts on social media, accepting tips in exchange for lewd requests. 

She wound up losing the Richmond-area seat by less than 1,000 votes.

Susanna Gibson

Virginia legislative candidate Susanna Gibson addresses the Women’s Summit in Virginia Beach, Va., in September 2022. (Neil Smith via AP)

Rashida Tlaib

Rep. Tlaib, D-Mich., the only Palestinian-American in Congress, has long been a critical voice against the Israeli government, part of a small but growing faction of progressives bucking Democrats’ traditional pro-Israel stance. 

However, she’s isolated herself this year after Hamas’ Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel and Israel’s subsequent military response, going further than most with her reaction to the war in Gaza. 

Her response to the crisis resulted in a formal House censure along bipartisan lines in November. 

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George Santos

Embattled former House Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., dominated headlines with an array of colorful scandals, from federal charges that included wire fraud to allegations he was responsible for the cancer death of a military veteran’s dog. 

Santos’ backstory quickly unraveled when he got to Congress, and it was found he lied about his college degree, work and ancestry. 

But criminal charges related to misuse of campaign funds were the final nail in the coffin for Santos’ House career, and he was expelled by a two-thirds majority vote Dec. 1.

President Joe Biden

President Biden speaks during an event at the National Institutes of Health Dec. 14, 2023. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Joe Biden 

This year has seen the country’s octogenarian commander in chief dealing with an impeachment inquiry as he continues to struggle with low poll numbers.

Despite traveling the country touting key victories, mainly his bipartisan infrastructure bill, Biden is still working to convince voters he is fit for another four years in the White House.

In addition to questions about his age and whether he profited from his role as vice president, Biden is also dealing with progressive outrage over his support for Israel in its war on Hamas. 

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It’s culminated in early voter polls that show gloomy forecasts for his re-election prospects over the last several weeks.

Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy began his 2023 with a marathon 15 rounds of voting across three days, the world watching him wrangle a divided House GOP Conference to eventually win the speaker’s gavel.

Kevin McCarthy

Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., conducts a news conference in the U.S. Capitol July 25, 2023 (Getty Images )

On Dec. 14, McCarthy was giving his final speech to a House floor filled with less than a dozen lawmakers, mostly his allies.

He told reporters later that day it was a “bittersweet” ending to his career in Congress, which saw him make history in October as the first ousted speaker of the House. He announced in December he would leave Congress altogether.

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McCarthy chalked it up to personal vendettas during a final exit interview with reporters later that day, but he remained optimistic. 

“I loved every minute, good or bad,” he said.

But while he made Fox News Digital’s list of 2023’s political losers, McCarthy could ascend again.

He intends to remain a significant figure in the GOP fundraising sphere and is almost certain to be a hot commodity in Washington, D.C., for some time. He didn’t rule out a return to government either.



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