1988 Republican Party presidential primaries

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1988 Republican Party presidential primaries

← 1984 January 14 to June 14, 1988 1992 →
  George H. W. Bush vice presidential portrait.jpg Bob Dole, PCCWW photo portrait.JPG Pat Robertson speaks about the national deficit (cropped).jpg
Candidate George H. W. Bush Bob Dole Pat Robertson
Home state Texas Kansas Virginia
Contests won 42 5 4
Popular vote 8,253,512 2,333,375 1,097,446
Percentage 67.9% 19.2% 9.0%

1988RepublicanPresidentialPrimaries.svg
Gold denotes a state won by George H. W. Bush. Green denotes a state won by Pat Robertson. Purple denotes a state won by Bob Dole. Grey denotes a state that did not hold a primary.

Previous Republican nominee

Ronald Reagan

Republican nominee

George H. W. Bush

The 1988 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process that Republican voters used to choose their nominee for President of the United States in the 1988 U.S. presidential election. Incumbent Vice President George H.W. Bush was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1988 Republican National Convention held from August 15 to August 18, 1988, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Primary race[edit]

Vice President George H. W. Bush had the support of President Ronald Reagan and pledged to continue Reagan's policies, but also pledged a "kinder and gentler nation"[1] in an attempt to win over some more moderate voters. Bush faced some prominent challengers for the GOP nomination, despite his front-runner status.

At the start of the primary election season in early 1988, televangelist Pat Robertson's campaign was attacked because of a statement he had made about his military service. In his campaign literature, he stated he was a combat Marine who served in the Korean War. Other Marines in his battalion contradicted Robertson's version, claiming he had never spent a day in a combat environment. They asserted that instead of fighting in the war, Robertson's primary responsibility was supplying alcoholic beverages for his officers. (See Education and military service).

In 1987 Donald Trump, who was then registered as a Republican, hinted in television interviews that he was considering running for President.[2] He took out a series of newspaper ads in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe criticizing Reagan's foreign policy as too weak.[3][4] He also vocally advocated reducing foreign aid to Japan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia; accelerating nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union; and eliminating the federal deficit.[5] Mike Dunbar, an important Republican operative, started a "draft Donald Trump" movement to try to convince him to run in the New Hampshire primaries.[4] However, Trump eventually announced at a political rally arranged by Dunbar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, that he would not seek the Republican nomination.[6] In 2015 Trump claimed that Bush adviser Lee Atwater asked him to consider the vice-presidential nomination, but added that the discussion "never really went much further than that".[7][8] Trump would later win the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries and go on to win the presidential election against his Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Robertson's campaign got off to a strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of Bush. Robertson did poorly in the subsequent New Hampshire primary, however, and was unable to be competitive once the multiple-state primaries like Super Tuesday began. Robertson ended his campaign before the primaries were finished. His best finish was in Washington, winning the majority of caucus delegates. However, his controversial win has been credited to procedural manipulation by Robertson supporters who delayed final voting until late into the evening when other supporters had gone home. He later spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans and told his remaining supporters to cast their votes for Bush, who ended up winning the nomination and the election. He then returned to the Christian Broadcasting Network and has remained there as a religious broadcaster.

Bush unexpectedly came in third in the Iowa caucus (that he had won back in 1980), behind Senator Bob Dole and Robertson. Dole was also leading in the polls of the New Hampshire primary, and the Bush camp responded by running television commercials portraying Dole as a tax raiser, while Governor John H. Sununu stumped for Bush. These efforts enabled the Vice President to defeat Dole and gain crucial momentum. Embittered by his loss in New Hampshire, Dole told Bush directly, on live television that evening, to "stop lying about my record."[9]

Once the multiple-state primaries began, Bush's organizational strength and fundraising lead were impossible for the other candidates to match, and the nomination was his. The Republican party convention was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bush was nominated unanimously.

In his acceptance speech, Bush made an energetic pledge, "Read my lips: No new taxes", a comment that would come to haunt him in the 1992 election.

Candidates[edit]

Nominee[edit]

Candidate Experience Home State Campaign Popular vote Running mate
George Bush Vice President of the United States (1981–1989) Flag-map of Texas.svg

Texas

(campaign)

8,253,512

(67.90%)

Dan Quayle

Withdrew before convention[edit]

Candidate Experience Home State Campaign Popular vote
Bob Dole U.S. Senator (1969–1996)

Kansas

(campaign)

2,333,375

(19.19%)

Pat Robertson None Flag-map of Virginia.svg

Virginia

(campaign)

1,097,446

(9.02%)

Jack Kemp U.S. Representative (1971–89) Flag-map of New York.svg

New York

(campaign)

331,333

(2.72%)

Candidates who received less than 1%[edit]

Declined to seek nomination[edit]

Endorsements[edit]

George H. W. Bush

Bob Dole

Jack Kemp

Results[edit]

Statewide[edit]

Raw Vote Totals Delegate Estimate
Date State Dels Bush Dole Robertson Others Totals Bush Dole Robertson Others
January 14 Michigan 81 919 54 360 292 1,625 47 0 19 15
February 4 Hawaii 23 147 153 1,368 15 1,683 0 0 23 0
February 7 Kansas 34 0 203 3 6 212 0 34 0 0
February 8 Iowa caucus 38 20,218 40,629 26,729 21,194 108,770 7 14 7 7
February 16 New Hampshire 23 59,290 44,797 14,775 38,514 157,376 10 7 0 6
February 18 Nevada 23 1,320 1,112 714 1,815 4,961 6 5 3 8
February 23 Minnesota 34 5,979 23,923 15,969 10,340 56,211 4 14 10 6
South Dakota 20 17,404 51,599 18,310 6,092 93,405 4 12 4 0
February 24 Wyoming 20 98 195 46 87 426 5 9 2 4
February 28 Maine 23 700 88 147 137 1,072 16 0 3 3
March 1 Alaska 20 487 395 941 184 2,007 5 4 10 0
Vermont 20 23,565 18,655 2,452 0 44,672 11 9 0 0
March 5 South Carolina 38 94,738 40,265 37,261 23,028 195,292 18 8 7 4
March 8 Alabama 41 137,113 34,777 29,552 11,266 212,708 28 7 6 0
Arkansas 31 32,114 17,667 12,918 5,606 68,305 16 9 6 0
Florida 85 559,397 191,494 95,037 54,329 900,257 56 19 10 0
Georgia 52 215,516 94,749 65,163 25,500 400,928 30 13 9 0
Kentucky 41 72,020 27,868 13,526 7,988 121,402 26 10 5 0
Louisiana 45 83,684 25,624 26,294 9,171 144,773 28 9 9 0
Maryland 45 107,026 64,987 12,860 15,881 200,754 28 17 0 0
Massachusetts 56 141,113 63,392 10,891 30,489 245,885 34 15 0 7
Mississippi 34 104,814 27,004 21,485 5,526 158,829 23 6 5 0
Missouri 49 168,812 164,394 44,705 22,389 400,300 22 21 6 0
North Carolina 56 124,260 107,032 26,861 15,647 273,800 30 26 0 0
Oklahoma 38 78,224 73,016 44,067 13,631 208,938 15 14 9 0
Rhode Island 23 10,401 3,628 0 2,016 16,045 15 5 0 3
Tennessee 49 152,515 55,027 32,015 13,695 253,252 31 11 7 0
Texas 113 648,178 140,795 155,449 70,534 1,014,956 78 17 19 0
Virginia 52 124,738 60,921 32,173 16,310 234,142 30 15 8 0
Washington 45 3,694 3,955 5,934 1,627 15,210 11 12 18 5
March 15 Illinois 95 469,151 309,253 59,087 21,146 858,637 57 38 0 0
March 29 Connecticut 38 73,501 21,005 3,191 6,474 104,171 30 8 0 0
April 4 Colorado 38 11,628 0 1,450 2,160 15,238 32 0 0 6
April 5 Wisconsin 49 295,295 28,460 24,798 10,345 358,898 49 0 0 0
April 19 New York 139 1,101 0 17 229 1,347 115 0 0 24
April 26 Pennsylvania 99 687,323 103,753 79,463 0 870,539 86 13 0 0
May 3 District of Columbia 13 5,890 469 268 93 6,720 13 0 0 0
Indiana 52 351,829 42,878 28,712 14,236 437,655 52 0 0 0
Ohio 92 643,907 94,650 56,347 0 794,904 80 12 0 0
May 10 Nebraska 27 138,784 45,572 10,334 8,423 203,113 20 7 0 0
West Virginia 31 110,705 15,309 10,417 6,709 143,140 27 4 0 0
May 17 Oregon 34 199,938 49,128 21,212 4,208 274,486 27 7 0 0
May 24 Idaho 23 55,464 0 5,876 6,935 68,275 20 0 0 3
June 7 California 178 1,856,273 286,220 94,779 0 2,240,272 154 24 0 0
Montana 23 63,098 16,762 0 6,493 86,353 18 5 0 0
New Jersey 67 241,033 0 0 0 241,033 67 0 0 0
New Mexico 27 69,359 9,305 5,350 4,730 88,744 24 3 0 0
June 14 North Dakota 20 37,062 0 0 2,372 39,434 20 0 0 0
TOTALS 2,408 8,299,833 2,404,162 1,149,306 517,862 12,371,163 1,525 463 207 101

Nationwide[edit]

Popular vote results:[11]

Running mate[edit]

After Bush locked up the nomination in March, conventional wisdom leaned toward the notion of a Southern running mate to balance the ticket. The former Governor of Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, was seen by many as the most logical choice, and some early reports described him as Bush's personal preference.[15][16] Another high-profile possibility, also from Tennessee, was the former Senate Majority Leader and White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker. Despite the early attention – which included a supportive editorial written by former President Richard Nixon – Baker told the press he would prefer to be left out of consideration.[17]

Bush's running mate, however, would not be revealed until August 16, allowing speculation to intensify all the way to the national convention. Bob Dole, who was considered a leading contender based on his second-place finish in the primaries, expressed impatience with the wait but nonetheless made plain his keen desire for the job.[18] So too did Jack Kemp, who confidently told reporters that he would make "a terrific campaigner and a terrific candidate and a terrific vice president".[18] Both men were thought to rank high on Bush's list of potential picks.[19]

Other highly rated prospects included two people quite close to Dole. His wife, Elizabeth Dole, had served as Transportation Secretary under President Reagan and was a popular figure among conservatives and women – two key demographics that Bush was struggling to galvanize. A second option was Dole's fellow U.S. Senator from Kansas, Nancy Kassebaum.[19] Other figures who were believed to be under Bush's close consideration included the Governor of Nebraska Kay Orr,[16] the former Governor of Pennsylvania Dick Thornburgh, the Governor of New Jersey Tom Kean, and the sitting U.S. Senators Bill Armstrong of Colorado, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, and Richard Lugar and Dan Quayle, both of Indiana.[18][19]

U.S. Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming was also widely believed to be a possible selection, but he publicly stated that he wasn't interested in the position. This placed him in the company of Baker and others who had declared that they did not want to be considered, such as the Governor of California George Deukmejian and the Governor of Illinois Jim Thompson. Shortly ahead of the convention, however, Bush reopened speculation about all of them when he implied that he would not necessarily give up on any demurring prospects.[18]

Long-shot possibilities included several Republicans who were popular in their home states but held limited name recognition nationally, such as U.S. Representative Lynn Martin of Illinois, the Governor of South Carolina Carroll Campbell, and the two U.S. Senators of Missouri, John Danforth and Christopher Bond.[19] Nontraditional selections who were seen as credible alternatives included the National Security Advisor Colin Powell,[20] the former UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Education Secretary William Bennett, former EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus, and even Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.[19]

Bush announced his selection of 41-year-old Dan Quayle on the second day of the convention.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "George H.W. Bush: 1988 Republican National Convention Acceptance Address". American Rhetoric. Aug 18, 1988.
  2. ^ "Donald Trump's Been Saying The Same Thing For 30 Years". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  3. ^ "Donald Trump: Campaigns and Elections | Miller Center". millercenter.org. 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  4. ^ a b Oreskes, Michael (1987-09-02). "Trump Gives a Vague Hint of Candidacy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  5. ^ Butterfield, Fox (1987-11-18). "Trump Urged To Head Gala Of Democrats". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-04.
  6. ^ a b Kruse, Michael. "The True Story of Donald Trump's First Campaign Speech—in 1987". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  7. ^ Meacham, Jon (2015). Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush (illustrated ed.). Random House. p. 326. ISBN 1400067650.
  8. ^ Bradner, Eric. "Trump says Bush 41 adviser approached him about becoming VP". CNN. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  9. ^ Dillin, John (February 18, 1988). "Even with win, Bush seen to be vulnerable". Christian Science Monitor. p. 1.
  10. ^ Clifford, Frank (13 February 1988). "Haig Drops Out of GOP Race, Endorses Dole". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e Our Campaigns - US President - R Primaries Race - Feb 01, 1988
  12. ^ "Clements: Bush will win South". The Galveston Daily News. Galveston, TX. AP. March 1, 1988. Retrieved October 22, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  13. ^ "Nomination Bush Pres Candidate, Aug 17 1988 (Video)". C-Span. August 17, 1988. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Dole gains Connally endorsement". The Galveston Daily News. Galveston, TX. AP. February 27, 1988. Retrieved October 22, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. ^ "Magazine: Alexander likely Bush running mate". The Greenville News. Greenville, South Carolina. Associated Press. March 15, 1988. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  16. ^ a b Evans, Rowland; Novak, Robert (March 14, 1988). "Bush's choice for a woman vice president". Muncie Evening Press. Muncie, Indiana. Archived from the original on April 6, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. The vice president's aides say his personal choice for running mate undoubtedly would be former Governor Lamar Alexander.... open access
  17. ^ "Who will join Bush on ticket?". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Santa Cruz, CA. Associated Press. March 29, 1988. Retrieved May 9, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  18. ^ a b c d Nothberg, Donald M. (August 16, 1988). "V.P. candidates wait to hear from Bush; some campaign". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. Associated Press. Retrieved May 9, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  19. ^ a b c d e Straight, Harry (August 7, 1988). "Bush's list crowded for No. 2 slot". The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, FL. Retrieved May 9, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  20. ^ Nelson, W. Dale (August 12, 1988). "Powell as Bush VP? It's not just a joke". The Palm Beach Post. Palm Beach, FL. Associated Press. Retrieved May 10, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  21. ^ "Bush Picks Sen. Quayle of Indiana as Running Mate". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, CA. Associated Press. August 16, 1988. Retrieved May 9, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access

External links[edit]