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Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1980: Wikis

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1976 United States 1984
Republican Party Presidential Primaries, 1980
1980
Official Portrait of President Reagan 1981.jpg George H. W. Bush, President of the United States, 1989 official portrait.jpg John Bayard Anderson.jpg
Nominee Ronald Reagan George H. W. Bush John B. Anderson
Party Republican Republican Republican
Home state California Texas Illinois
States carried 44 6 and D.C. 0
Popular vote 7,709,793 3,070,033 1,572,174
Percentage 59.79% 23.81% 12.19%
GOP Primaries 1980.png

1980 Republican Party Presidential primaries and caucuses:

Contents

Situation

As the 1970s came to a close, Former Governor Ronald Reagan was the odds-on favorite to win his party's nomination for president after nearly beating incumbent President Gerald Ford just four years earlier. He was so far ahead in the polls that campaign director John Sears decided on an "above the fray" strategy. He did not attend many of the multicandidate forums and straw poll events held in the summer and fall of 1979.

However, George H. W. Bush, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and chairman of the Republican National Committee, taking a page from the George McGovern/Jimmy Carter playbook, did go to all the so-called "cattle calls," and began to come in first at a number of these events.

Along with the top two, a number of other Republican politicians entered the race.

Candidates

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Potential Candidates[1]

Primaries

In January 1980, the Iowa Republicans decided to have a straw poll as a part of their caucuses for that year. Bush's hard work paid off, and he defeated Reagan by a small margin. Bush declared he had the "Big Mo" (for "momentum"), and with Reagan boycotting the Puerto Rico primary in deference to New Hampshire, the victorious Bush looked like he might actually beat Reagan to the nomination.

The Nashua debate between Ronald Reagan (left) and George H.W. Bush (right)

With the other candidates in single digits, the Nashua Telegraph offered to host a debate between Reagan and Bush. Worried that a newspaper-sponsored debate might violate electoral regulations, Reagan subsequently arranged to fund the event with his own campaign money, inviting the other candidates to participate at short notice. The Bush camp did not learn of Reagan's decision to include the other candidates until the debate was due to commence. Bush refused to participate, which led to an impasse on the stage. As Reagan attempted to explain his decision, the editor of the Nashua Telegraph ordered the sound man to mute Reagan's microphone. A visibly angry Reagan responded "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!" (referring to the editor).[2][3] Eventually the other candidates agreed to leave, and the debate proceeded between Reagan and Bush. Reagan's quote was often repeated as "I paid for this microphone!" and dominated news coverage of the event; Bush did not make an impact with the voters.

Reagan swept the South, and although he lost five more primaries to Bush, including one where he came in third behind John Anderson, the former governor had a lock on the nomination very early in the season. Reagan would always be grateful to the people of Iowa for giving him "the kick in the pants" he needed.

Ronald Reagan giving his Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention, Detroit, Michigan, July 17, 1980

Reagan was an adherent to a policy known as supply side economics, which argues that economic growth can be most effectively created using incentives for people to produce (supply) goods and services, such as adjusting income tax and capital gains tax rates. Accordingly, Reagan promised an economic revival that would affect all sectors of the population. He said that cutting tax rates would actually increase tax revenues because the lower rates would cause people to work harder as they would be able to keep more of their money. Reagan also called for a drastic cut in "big government" programs and pledged to deliver a balanced budget for the first time since 1969. In the primaries Bush famously called Reagan's economic policy "voodoo economics" because it promised to lower taxes and increase revenues at the same time. The wisdom of "supply-side economics" remains in contention.[citation needed] Although many economists credit the Reagan tax cut with helping to stimulate the strong growth later in the decade.[citation needed]

Popular vote

Primaries total popular vote number[2]:

Primary results by states

Ronald Reagan George H.W. Bush John Anderson Howard Baker John Connally Phil Crane Bob Dole
January 21 Iowa 30% 32% 4% 15% 9% 7% 1%
February 17 Puerto Rico 0% 60% 0% 37% 1% 0% 0%
February 26 New Hampshire 50% 23% 10% 13% 2% 2% 0%
March 4 Massachusetts 29% 31% 31% 5% 1% 1% 0%
March 4 Vermont 30% 22% 29% 12% 1% 2% 0%
March 8 South Carolina 55% 15% 0% 1% 30% 0% 0%
March 11 Alabama 70% 26% 0% 1% 1% 2% 0%
March 11 Florida 56% 30% 9% 1% 1% 2% 0%
March 11 Georgia 73% 13% 8% 1% 1% 3% 0%
March 18 Illinois 49% 11% 36% 1% 0% 2% 0%
March 25 Connecticut 34% 39% 22% 1% 0% 1% 0%
April 1 Kansas 63% 13% 18% 1% 1% 0% 0%
April 1 Wisconsin 40% 30% 27% 0% 0% 0% 0%
April 5 Louisiana 74% 19% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
April 22 Pennsylvania 43% 50% 2% 3% 1% 0% 0%
May 3 Texas 53% 46% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 6 Washington, D.C. 0% 66% 27% 0% 0% 4% 0%
May 6 Indiana 74% 16% 10% 0% 0% 4% 0%
May 6 North Carolina 68% 22% 5% 2% 0% 1% 0%
May 6 Tennessee 74% 18% 4% 0% 0% 1% 0%
May 13 Maryland 48% 41% 10% 0% 0% 1% 0%
May 13 Nebraska 76% 15% 6% 0% 0% 1% 1%
May 20 Michigan 32% 57% 8% 0% 0% 1% 1%
May 20 Oregon 54% 35% 10% 0% 0% 1% 0%
May 27 Arkansas
May 27 Idaho 83% 4% 10% 0% 0% 1% 0%
May 27 Kentucky 82% 7% 5% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 27 Nevada 83% 4% 10% 0% 0% 1% 0%
June 3 California 80% 5% 14% 0% 0% 1% 0%
June 3 Mississippi 89% 8% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 3 Montana 87% 10% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 3 New Jersey 81% 17% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 3 New Mexico 64% 10% 12% 0% 0% 7% 0%
June 3 Ohio 81% 19% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 3 Rhode Island 72% 19% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 3 South Dakota 88% 4% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 3 West Virginia 84% 14% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

Convention

The 1980 Republican National Convention was held in Detroit, Michigan from July 14 to July 17.

Presidential tally[3]:

Vice-presidential nomination

Reagan initially negotiated with Gerald Ford to be his running mate; when the complex plan fell through (Ford reportedly insisted Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan be offered cabinet positions), Reagan chose Bush as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

Vice Presidential tally[4]:

References


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