Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1976


Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1976
Democratic Presidential Primaries, 1976
United States
1972 ←
1976
→ 1980

  Jimmy Carter.jpg JerryBrown.png George C Wallace (Alabama Governor).png
Nominee Jimmy Carter Jerry Brown George Wallace
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Home state Georgia California Alabama
States carried 27 5 3
Popular vote 6,971,770 2,449,374 2,236,186
Percentage 40.16% 13.98% 12.75%

  Morris Udall.jpg HenryJackson.jpg FrankChurch.jpg
Nominee Mo Udall Henry M. Jackson Frank Church
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Home state Arizona Washington Idaho
States carried 3 4 5
Popular vote 1,611,754 1,134,375 830,818
Percentage 9.16% 6.32% 4.77%

  Robert Byrd official portrait.jpg H Humphrey.jpg
Nominee Robert Byrd Hubert Humphrey
Party Democratic Democratic
Home state West Virginia Minnesota
States carried 1 2
Popular vote 340,309 61,992
Percentage 2.14% 0.39%

1976DemocraticPresidentialPrimaries.gif

Statewide contest by winner

Democratic presidential candidate before election

George McGovern

Democratic presidential candidate-elect

Jimmy Carter

The 1976 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1976 U.S. presidential election. Former Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1976 Democratic National Convention held from July 12 to July 15, 1976 in New York City.

Contents

Primary race

Due to the absence of any clear front-runner for the nomination, a record number of Democrats competed for their party's presidential nomination in 1976. Most of these candidates would drop out early in the race.

The 1976 campaign featured a record number of state primaries and caucuses, and it was the first presidential campaign in which the primary system was dominant. However, most of the Democratic candidates failed to realize the significance of the increased number of primaries, or the importance of creating momentum by winning the early contests. The one candidate who did see the opportunities in the new nominating system was Jimmy Carter, a former state senator and Governor of Georgia. Carter, who was virtually unknown at the national level, would never have gotten the Democratic nomination under the old, boss-dominated nominating system, but given the public disgust with political corruption following Richard Nixon's resignation, Carter realized that his obscurity and "fresh face" could be an asset in the primaries. Carter's plan was to run in all of the primaries and caucuses, beginning with the Iowa caucus, and build up momentum by winning "somewhere" each time primary elections were held. Carter startled many political experts by finishing second in the Iowa caucuses (where he came in second to "uncommitted"). Carter then won the New Hampshire primary, thus proving that a Southerner could win in the North. He then proceeded to slowly but steadily accumulate delegates in primaries around the nation. He also knocked his key rivals out of the race one by one. He defeated George Wallace in the North Carolina primary, thus eliminating his main rival in the South. He defeated Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson in Pennsylvania, thus forcing Jackson to quit the race. In the Wisconsin primary Carter scored an impressive come-from-behind victory over Arizona Congressman Morris Udall, thus eliminating Udall as a serious contender. As Carter closed in on the nomination, an "ABC" (Anybody But Carter) movement started among Northern and Western liberal Democrats who worried that Carter's Southern upbringing would make him too conservative for the Democratic Party. The leaders of the "ABC" movement - Idaho Senator Frank Church and California Governor Jerry Brown - both announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination and defeated Carter in several late primaries. However, their campaigns both started too late to prevent Carter from gathering the remaining delegates he needed to capture the nomination.

Democratic Party nomination

Nominee

Withdrew during convention

Withdrew during primaries

Withdrew before primaries

Declined to run

Primaries

Scoop Jackson raised his national profile by speaking out on Soviet-U.S. relations and Middle East policy regularly, and was considered a front-runner for the nomination when he announced the start of his campaign in February 1975. Jackson received substantial financial support from Jewish-Americans who admired his pro-Israel views, but Jackson's support of the Vietnam War resulted in hostility from the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Jackson chose to run on social issues, emphasizing law and order and his opposition to busing. Jackson was also hoping for support from labor, but the possibility that Hubert Humphrey might enter the race caused unions to offer only lukewarm support.[1][2][3][4]

Jackson made the fateful decision not to compete in the early Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, which Carter won after liberals split their votes among four other candidates. Though Jackson won the Massachusetts and New York primaries, he dropped out on May 1 after losing the critical Pennsylvania primary to Carter by 12 points and running out of money.[1][2][3][4]

Statewide contest by winner

Results by state[5]:

Jimmy Carter Jerry Brown George Wallace Mo Udall Scoop Jackson Frank Church Lloyd Bentsen Robert Byrd Sargent Shriver Fred Harris Ellen McCormack Milton Shapp Birch Bayh
January 27 Iowa 28% 0% 0% 6% 1% 0% 0% 0% 3% 10% 0% 0% 13%
February 24 New Hampshire 28% 0% 1% 23% 2% 0% 0% 0% 8% 11% 1% 0% 15%
March 2 Massachusetts 14% 0% 17% 18% 22% 0% 0% 0% 4% 7% 8% 3% 5%
March 2 Vermont 42% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 28% 13% 9% 0% 0%
March 9 Florida 35% 0% 31% 2% 24% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 1% 2% 1%
March 16 Illinois 48% 0% 28% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 16% 8% 0% 0% 0%
March 23 North Carolina 54% 0% 35% 2% 4% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0% 0%
April 6 Wisconsin 37% 0% 13% 36% 6% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 4% 0% 0%
April 27 Pennsylvania 37% 0% 11% 19% 25% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 3% 2% 1%
May 1 Texas 48% 0% 18% 0% 0% 0% 22% 0% 0% 2% 2% 0% 0%
May 4 Georgia 83% 11% 2% 1% 0% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 4 Indiana 68% 0% 15% 0% 12% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 5% 0% 0%
May 4 Washington, D.C. 32% 0% 0% 21% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0% 0%
May 11 Connecticut 33% 0% 0% 31% 18% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 11 Nebraska 38% 0% 3% 3% 2% 38% 0% 0% 0% 0% 3% 0% 0%
May 11 West Virginia 0% 0% 11% 0% 0% 0% 0% 89% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 18 Maryland 37% 48% 4% 6% 2% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 0% 0%
May 18 Michigan 43% 0% 7% 43% 1% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 1% 0% 0%
May 25 Arkansas 63% 0% 17% 8% 2% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 25 Idaho 12% 2% 2% 1% 1% 79% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0%
May 25 Kentucky 59% 0% 17% 11% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 6% 0% 0%
May 25 Nevada 23% 53% 3% 3% 3% 9% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
May 25 Oregon 27% 25% 1% 3% 1% 34% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0% 0%
May 25 Tennessee 77% 0% 11% 4% 2% 2% 0% 0% 0% 1% 1% 0% 0%
June 1 Montana 25% 3% 0% 6% 3% 59% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 1 Rhode Island 30% 0% 1% 4% 1% 27% 0% 0% 0% 0% 4% 0% 0%
June 1 South Dakota 41% 0% 2% 33% 1% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 8% 0% 0%
June 8 California 20% 59% 3% 5% 1% 7% 0% 0% 1% 0% 1% 0% 0%
June 8 New Jersey 58% 0% 9% 0% 9% 14% 0% 0% 6% 0% 0% 0% 0%
June 8 Ohio 52% 0% 6% 21% 3% 14% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%

Total popular vote

Total popular vote in primaries[6]

Democratic National Convention

The 1976 Democratic National Convention was held in New York City. By the time the convention opened Carter already had more than enough delegates to win the nomination, and so the major emphasis at the convention was to create an appearance of party unity, which had been lacking in the 1968 and 1972 Democratic Conventions. Carter easily won the nomination on the first ballot; he then chose Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota, a liberal and a protege of Hubert Humphrey, as his running mate.

The tally at the convention was[7]:

Vice-Presidential nomination

By June, Carter had the nomination sufficiently locked up and could take time to interview potential vice-presidential candidates.

The pundits predicted that Frank Church would be tapped to provide balance as an experienced senator with strong liberal credentials. Church promoted himself, persuading friends to intervene with Carter in his behalf. If a quick choice had been required as in past conventions, Carter later recalled, he would probably have chosen Church. But the longer period for deliberation gave Carter time to worry about his compatibility with the publicity-seeking Church, who had a tendency to be long-winded. Instead, Carter invited Senators Edmund Muskie, John Glenn, and Walter Mondale to visit his home in Plains, Georgia, for personal interviews, while Church, Henry M. Jackson, and Adlai Stevenson III would be interviewed at the convention in New York. Of all the potential candidates, Carter found Mondale the most compatible. As a result, Carter selected Mondale as his running mate.

The vice presidential tally, in part, was:

See also

References


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