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U.S. presidential election, 1988

Presidential CandidateElectoral Vote Popular Vote Pct Party Running Mate
(Electoral Votes)
George H. W. Bush(W) 426 47,946,000 Republican James Danforth Quayle (426)
Michael Dukakis 111 41,016,000 Democrat Lloyd Bentsen[?] (111)
Lloyd Bentsen[?] 1 Democrat Michael Dukakis (1)
Ron Paul 432,179 Libertarian
Lenora B. Fulani 217,219 New Alliance[?]
Other elections: 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000
Source: U.S. Office of the Federal Register (http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/electoral_college/scores#1988)

(Larger version)

The 1988 presidential election was a wide open primary for both major parties. Ronald Reagan, the incumbant president, was vacating the position after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-Second Amendment.

Table of contents

Democratic Primary

Having been badly defeated in the 1984 presidential election, the Democrats were eager to find a new approach to the presidency. Among the field of candidates were the following:

In early 1987, Senator Gary Hart was the clear frontrunner in the field (Democratic party efforts to recruit New York Governor Mario Cuomo[?] aside). Hart had put in a strong showing in the 1984 presidential election, and had refined his campaign in the intervening years.

However, questions about extramarital affairs dogged the charismatic candidate. An exasperated Hart challenged the press to tail him. The Miami Herald did exactly that, to uncover damaging evidence of an affair with 29-year-old model Donna Rice[?], getting a photograph of Rice sitting on Hart's lap. On May 8, 1987, a week after the Donna Rice story broke, Hart dropped out of the race.

In December of 1987, Hart returned to the race. However the damage had been done.

Republican Primary

Notable quote: George H. W. Bush: "Read my lips: no new taxes"

General Election

  • Tank photograph of Dukakis
  • Willie Horton campaign ads
  • Vice Presidential debate: Bentson to Quayle: "you're no Jack Kennedy"


A West Virginia elector voted for Bentsen as President and Dukakis as Vice President.

See also: President of the United States, U.S. presidential election, 1988

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