He served as vice president under Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953-61. Nixon ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1960, losing by a very close margin to John F. Kennedy.
In 1962, Nixon ran unsuccessfully for Governor of California. This second loss led Nixon to bitterly announce he was leaving politics, telling reporters "...you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore." However, he re-emerged as a presidential candidate in 1968 and ran a successful campaign against Democrat Hubert Humphrey, squeaking out a victory in one of the closest elections in U.S. history.
In 1972, Nixon ran for re-election against Democrat George McGovern and swept to victory in a landslide with 60 percent of the popular vote, winning in every state except Massachusetts.