1988 Republican Party presidential primaries

← 1984 January 14 to June 14, 1988 1992 →

2,044 delegates to the 1988 Republican National Convention
1,023 (majority) votes needed to win
 
Candidate George H. W. Bush Bob Dole Pat Robertson
Home state Texas Kansas Virginia
Delegate count 1,525 463 207
Contests won 42 5 4
Popular vote 8,253,512 2,333,375 1,097,446
Percentage 67.9% 19.2% 9.0%

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 territory that did not hold a primary.

Previous Republican nominee

Ronald Reagan

Republican nominee

George H. W. Bush

From January 14 to June 14, 1988, Republican voters chose their nominee for president in the 1988 United States 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.

Bush selected Indiana Senator Dan Quayle as his running mate, and the Republican ticket went on to win the general election against the Democratic ticket of Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen by a wide margin. It was the third consecutive Republican victory in a presidential election, marking the first time since President Harry S. Truman's surprise 1948 victory that any party held the White House for more than two terms.

Primary race

Vice President George H. W. Bush had the private support of President Ronald Reagan and publicly 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.

In 1987, Donald Trump, then known as a New York real estate executive and registered as a Republican, hinted in various 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 for being too expensive.[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] Later, Trump approached Bush's campaign manager Lee Atwater asking to be considered as a possible choice for running mate. Bush found the request "strange and unbelievable."[7] Apparently contradicting this report, Trump later asserted it was Atwater who approached him asking if he was interested in the position.[8] Trump would eventually win the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries and go on to win the presidential election against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. He would later lose the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, who was running for the Democratic nomination in 1988, but dropped out before the primaries began. Trump is currently seeking the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

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 would remain there as a religious broadcaster until his death in 2023.

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

Nominee

Candidate Most recent office Home State Campaign

Withdrawal date

Popular vote Contests won Running mate
George H. W. Bush Vice President of the United States
(1981–1989)

Texas

(Campaign)
Secured nomination:
April 26, 1988
8,253,512
(67.90%)
42 Dan Quayle

Withdrew before convention

Candidate Most recent office Home State Campaign

Withdrawal date

Popular vote Contests won
Bob Dole U.S. Senator from Kansas
(1969–1996)

Kansas

(campaign)
2,333,375
(19.19%)
5
Pat Robertson Chair of CBN
Virginia

(campaign)
1,097,446
(9.02%)
4
Jack Kemp U.S. Representative
(1971–1989)

New York

(campaign)
331,333
(2.72%)
0

Candidates who received less than 1%

Declined to seek nomination

Endorsements

George H. W. Bush

Bob Dole

Jack Kemp

Pete duPont

Polling

National polling

Poll source Publication date
George Bush
Bob Dole
Pete DuPont
Al Haig
Jack Kemp
Pat Robertson
Others/Undecided
Gallup[20] Jun. 10, 1985 39% 8% 5% 48%
Gallup[20] Jan. 13, 1986 46% 10% 5% 39%
Gallup[20] Apr. 14, 1986 40% 10% 2% 6% 4% 38%
Gallup[20] Jul. 14, 1986 41% 8% 3% 3% 6% 39%
Gallup[20] Oct. 27, 1986 42% 8% 1% 3% 5% 6% 35%
Gallup[20] Jan. 19, 1987 33% 14% 1% 3% 5% 5% 39%
Gallup[20] Apr. 13, 1987 34% 18% 2% 7% 9% 4% 26%
Gallup[20] June 14, 1987 39% 21% 2% 6% 8% 5% 19%
Gallup[20] July 13, 1987 40% 18% 3% 7% 10% 5% 17%
Gallup[20] Sep. 2, 1987 40% 19% 2% 4% 9% 8% 18%
Gallup[20] Sep. 2, 1987 47% 22% 1% 4% 4% 7% 15%
Gallup[20] Jan. 24, 1988 45% 30% 2% 2% 5% 8% 8%

Results

Statewide

Date
(daily totals)
Total pledged
delegates
Contest Delegates won and popular vote Total
George H. W. Bush Bob Dole Pat Robertson Others
January 14 81 Michigan 47
919 (56.55%)

54 (3.32%)
19
360 (22.15%)
15
292 (17.97%)
1,625
February 4 23 Hawaii
147 (8.73%)

153 (9.09%)
23
1,368 (81.28%)

15 (8.91%)
1,683
February 7 34 Kansas 34
203 (95.75%)

3 (1.42%)

6 (2.83%)
212
February 8 38 Iowa caucus 7
20,218 (18.59%)
14
40,629 (37.35%)
7
26,729 (24.57%)
7
21,194 (19.49%)
108,770
February 16 23 New Hampshire primary 10
59,290 (37.67%)
7
44,797 (28.46%)

14,775 (9.39%)
6
38,514 (24.47%)
157,376
February 18 23 Nevada 6
1,320 (26.61%)
5
1,112 (22.41%)
3
714 (14.39%)
8
1,815 (36.59%)
4,961
February 23
(54)
34 Minnesota 4
5,979 (10.64%)
14
23,923 (42.56%)
10
15,969 (28.41%)
6
10,340 (18.39%)
56,211
20 South Dakota 4
17,404 (18.63%)
12
51,599 (55.24%)
4
18,310 (19.60%)

6,092 (6.52%)
93,405
February 24 20 Wyoming 5
98 (23.00%)
9
195 (45.77%)
2
46 (10.80%)
4
87 (20.42%)
426
February 28 23 Maine 16
700 (65.30%)

88 (8.21%)
3
147 (13.71%)
3
137 (12.78%)
1,072
March 1
(40)
20 Alaska 5
487 (23.82%)
4
395 (19.68%)
10
941 (46.89%)

184 (9.17%)
2,007
20 Vermont 11
23,565 (52.75%)
9
18,655 (41.76%)

2,452 (5.49%)
44,672
March 5 38 South Carolina 18
94,738 (48.51%)
8
40,265 (20.62%)
7
37,261 (19.08%)
4
23,028 (11.79%)
195,292
March 8
(Super Tuesday)
(855)
41 Alabama 28
137,113 (64.46%)
7
34,777 (16.35%)
6
29,552 (13.89%)

11,266 (5.30%)
212,708
31 Arkansas 16
32,114 (47.02%)
9
17,667 (25.86%)
6
12,918 (18.91%)

5,606 (8.21%)
68,305
85 Florida 56
559,397 (62.14%)
19
191,494 (21.27%)
10
95,037 (10.56%)

54,329 (6.03%)
900,257
52 Georgia 30
215,516 (53.75%)
13
94,749 (23.63%)
9
65,163 (16.25%)

25,500 (6.36%)
400,928
41 Kentucky 26
72,020 (59.32%)
10
27,868 (22.96%)
5
13,526 (11.14%)

7,988 (6.58%)
121,402
45 Louisiana 28
83,684 (57.80%)
9
25,624 (21.11%)
9
26,294 (21.66%)

9,171 (6.33%)
144,773
45 Maryland 28
107,026 (53.31%)
17
64,987 (32.37%)

12,860 (6.41%)

15,881 (7.91%)
200,754
56 Massachusetts 34
141,113 (57.39%)
15
63,392 (25.78%)

10,891 (4.43%)
7
30,489 (12.40%)
245,885
34 Mississippi 23
104,814 (65.99%)
6
27,004 (17.00%)
5
21,485 (13.53%)

5,526 (3.48%)
158,829
49 Missouri 22
168,812 (42.17%)
21
164,394 (41.07%)
6
44,705 (11.17%)

22,389 (5.59%)
400,300
56 North Carolina 30
124,260 (45.38%)
26
107,032 (39.09%)

26,861 (9.81%)

15,647 (5.71%)
273,800
38 Oklahoma 15
78,224 (37.44%)
14
73,016 (34.95%)
9
44,067 (21.09%)

13,631 (6.52%)
208,938
23 Rhode Island 15
10,401 (64.82%)
5
3,628 (22.61%)
3
2,016 (12.56%)
16,045
49 Tennessee 31
152,515 (60.22%)
11
55,027 (21.73%)
7
32,015 (12.64%)

13,695 (5.41%)
253,252
113 Texas 78
648,178 (63.86%)
17
140,795 (13.87%)
19
155,449 (15.32%)

70,534 (6.95%)
1,014,956
52 Virginia 30
124,738 (53.27%)
15
60,921 (26.02%)
8
32,173 (13.74%)

16,310 (6.97%)
234,142
45 Washington 11
3,694 (24.29%)
12
3,955 (26.00%)
18
5,934 (39.01%)
5
1,627 (10.70%)
15,210
March 15 95 Illinois 57
469,151 (54.64%)
38
309,253 (36.02%)

59,087 (6.88%)

21,146 (2.46%)
858,637
March 29 38 Connecticut 30
73,501 (70.56%)
8
21,005 (20.16%)

3,191 (3.06%)

6,474 (6.21%)
104,171
April 4 38 Colorado 32
11,628 (76.31%)

1,450 (9.51%)
6
2,160 (14.17%)
15,238
April 5 49 Wisconsin 49
295,295 (82.28%)

28,460 (7.93%)

24,798 (6.91%)

10,345 (2.88%)
358,898
April 19 139 New York 115
1,101 (81.74%)

17 (1.26%)
24
229 (17.00%)
1,347
April 26 99 Pennsylvania 86
687,323 (78.95%)
13
103,753 (11.92%)

79,463 (9.13%)
870,539
May 3
(157)
13 District of Columbia 13
5,890 (87.65%)

469 (6.98%)

268 (3.99%)

93 (1.38%)
6,720
52 Indiana 52
351,829 (80.39%)

42,878 (9.80%)

28,712 (6.56%)

14,236 (3.25%)
437,655
92 Ohio 80
643,907 (81.00%)
12
94,650 (11.91%)

56,347 (7.09%)
794,904
May 10
(58)
27 Nebraska 20
138,784 (68.33%)
7
45,572 (22.44%)

10,334 (5.09%)

8,423 (4.15%)
203,113
31 West Virginia 27
110,705 (77.34%)
4
15,309 (10.70%)

10,417 (7.28%)

6,709 (4.69%)
143,140
May 17 34 Oregon 27
199,938 (72.84%)
7
49,128 (17.90%)

21,212 (7.73%)

4,208 (1.53%)
274,486
May 24 23 Idaho 20
55,464 (81.24%)

5,876 (8.61%)
3
6,935 (10.16%)
68,275
June 7
(295)
178 California 154
1,856,273 (82.86%)
24
286,220 (12.78%)

94,779 (4.23%)
2,240,272
23 Montana 18
63,098 (73.07%)
5
16,762 (19.41%)

6,493 (7.52%)
86,353
67 New Jersey 67
241,033 (100.00%)
241,033
27 New Mexico 24
69,359 (78.16%)
3
9,305 (10.49%)

5,350 (6.03%)

4,730 (5.33%)
88,744
June 14 20 North Dakota 20
37,062 (93.98%)

2,372 (6.01%)
39,434
Total 2,408 1,525
8,299,833 (67.9%)
463
2,404,162 (19.2%)
207
1,149,306 (9.0%)
101
517,862 (3.9%)
12,371,163

Nationwide

Popular vote results:[11]

Running mate

See also: 1988 Republican Party vice presidential candidate selection

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.[21][22] 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 that he would prefer to be left out of consideration.[23]

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.[24] 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".[24] Both men were thought to rank high on Bush's list of potential picks.[25]

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.[25] Other figures who were believed to be under Bush's close consideration included the Governor of Nebraska Kay Orr,[22] 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.[24][25]

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.[24]

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.[25] Nontraditional selections who were seen as credible alternatives included the National Security Advisor Colin Powell,[26] the former UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Education Secretary William Bennett, former EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus, and even Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.[25]

Bush announced his selection of 41-year-old Dan Quayle on the second day of the convention.[27]

See also

References

  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 (8 November 2015). "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 icon
  13. ^ "Nomination Bush Pres Candidate, Aug 17 1988 (Video)". C-Span. August 17, 1988. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  14. ^ Jack W. Germond & Jules Witcover (1989). "New Hampshire: The Resurrection of George Bush". Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency 1988. Warner Books. p. 131. ISBN 0-446-51424-1. And Bush had the active and aggressive support of Governor Sununu.
  15. ^ "Dole gains Connally endorsement". The Galveston Daily News. Galveston, TX. AP. February 27, 1988. Retrieved October 22, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  16. ^ Jack W. Germond & Jules Witcover (1989). "New Hampshire: The Resurrection of George Bush". Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency 1988. Warner Books. p. 136. ISBN 0-446-51424-1. Dole's chief sponsor in the state, Senator Warren Rudman
  17. ^ Jack W. Germond & Jules Witcover (1989). "New Hampshire: The Resurrection of George Bush". Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency 1988. Warner Books. p. 135. ISBN 0-446-51424-1. He had a respectable ground operation and the support of the two most prominent hard-line conservatives in the state, Senator Gordon Humphrey and Representative Robert Smith.
  18. ^ Jack W. Germond & Jules Witcover (1989). "New Hampshire: The Resurrection of George Bush". Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency 1988. Warner Books. p. 135. ISBN 0-446-51424-1. He had a respectable ground operation and the support of the two most prominent hard-line conservatives in the state, Senator Gordon Humphrey and Representative Robert Smith.
  19. ^ Jack W. Germond & Jules Witcover (1989). "New Hampshire: The Resurrection of George Bush". Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency 1988. Warner Books. p. 134. ISBN 0-446-51424-1. Pete duPont had captured the endorsement of the Union Leader.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "US President - R Primaries". OurCampaigns.com. 20 Dec 2017. Retrieved 6 Apr 2022.
  21. ^ "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 icon
  22. ^ 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 icon
  23. ^ "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 icon
  24. ^ 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 icon
  25. ^ 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 icon
  26. ^ 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 icon
  27. ^ "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 icon