- Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1992
Democratic Presidential Primaries, 1992 1988 ← 1992 → 1996 Nominee Bill Clinton Jerry Brown Paul Tsongas Party Democratic Democratic Democratic Home state Arkansas California Massachusetts States carried 39 3 6 Popular vote 10,482,411 4,071,232 3,656,010 Percentage 52.01% 20.20% 18.14% Nominee Bob Kerrey Tom Harkin Party Democratic Democratic Home state Nebraska Iowa States carried 1 1 Popular vote 318,457 280,304 Percentage 1.58% 1.39%
Democratic Primary Results: Blue denotes a Clinton win, yellow a Brown win, green a Tsongas win, orange a Kerrey win, and purple a Harkin win
Democratic presidential candidate before election
Democratic presidential candidate-elect
The 1992 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 1992 U.S. presidential election. Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1992 Democratic National Convention held from July 13 to July 16, 1992 in New York City.
During the aftermath of the Gulf War, President Bush's approval ratings were extremely high. During one point after the successful performance by U.S forces in Kuwait, President Bush's approval ratings were 89%  As a result, several high profile candidates such as Mario Cuomo refused to seek the Democratic Nomination for President. Senator (and later vice-president) Al Gore refused to seek the nomination due to the fact his son was struck by a car and was undergoing extensive surgery as well as physical therapy.
- Former Mayor Larry Agran of Irvine, California
- Former Governor Jerry Brown of California
- Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas
- Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska
- Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa
- Former Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts
- Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia
- Filmmaker and activist Tom Laughlin
- Former Senator Eugene McCarthy
Clinton, a Southerner with experience governing a more conservative state, positioned himself as a centrist New Democrat. He prepared for a run in 1992 amidst a crowded field seeking to beat the incumbent President George H. W. Bush. In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, Bush seemed unbeatable but a small economic recession spurred the Democrats on. Tom Harkin won his native Iowa without much surprise. Clinton, meanwhile, was still a relatively unknown national candidate before the primary season when a woman named Gennifer Flowers appeared in the press to reveal allegations of an affair. Clinton sought damage control by appearing on 60 Minutes with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for an interview with Steve Kroft. Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts won the primary in neighboring New Hampshire but Clinton's second place finish - strengthened by Clinton's speech labeling himself "The Comeback Kid" - re-energized his campaign. Clinton swept nearly all of the Super Tuesday primaries, making him the solid front runner. Jerry Brown, however, began to run a surprising insurgent campaign, particularly through use of a 1-800 number to receive grassroots funding. Brown "seemed to be the most left-wing and right-wing man in the field. [He] called for term limits, a flat tax, and the abolition of the Department of Education." Brown scored surprising wins in Connecticut and Colorado and seemed poised to overtake Clinton.
On March 17, Brown forced Tsongas from the race when he received a strong third-place showing in the Illinois primary and then defeated the senator for second place in the Michigan primary by a wide margin. Exactly one week later, he cemented his position as a major threat to Clinton when he eked out a narrow win in the bitterly fought Connecticut primary. As the press now focused on the primaries in New York and Wisconsin, which were both to be held on the same day, Brown, who had taken the lead in polls in both states, made a serious gaffe: he announced to an audience of various leaders of New York City's Jewish community that, if nominated, he would consider the Reverend Jesse Jackson as a vice-presidential candidate. Jackson, who had made a pair of anti-Semitic comments about Jews in general and New York City's Jews in particular while running for president in 1984, was still a widely hated figure in that community and Brown's polling numbers suffered. On April 7, he lost narrowly to Bill Clinton in Wisconsin (37-34), and dramatically in New York (41-26). In addition, his "willingness to break with liberal orthodoxy on taxes led to denunciations from the party regulars, but by the end of the race he had been embraced by much of the Left."
Although Brown continued to campaign in a number of states, he won no further primaries. Despite this, he still had a sizable number of delegates, and a big win in his home state of California would deprive Clinton of sufficient support to win the nomination, which Brown apparently thought would revert to him by default. After nearly a month of intense campaigning and multiple debates between the two candidates, Clinton managed to defeat Brown in this final primary by a margin of 48% to 41%
The convention met in New York City, and the official tally was:
- Bill Clinton 3,372
- Jerry Brown 596
- Paul Tsongas 209
- Penn. Gov. Robert P. Casey 10
- Rep. Pat Schroeder 8
- Larry Agran 3
- Ron Daniels 1
- Al Gore 1
- Joe Simonetta 1
Clinton chose U.S. Senator Albert A. Gore Jr. (D-Tennessee) to be his running mate on July 9, 1992. Choosing Gore, who is from Clinton's neighboring state of Tennessee, went against the popular strategy of balancing a Southern candidate with a Northern partner. Gore did serve to balance the ticket in other ways, as he was perceived as strong on family values and environmental issues, while Clinton was not. Also, Gore's similarities to Clinton allowed him to really push some of his key campaign themes, such as centrism and generational change.
Before Gore's selection, other politicians were mentioned as a possible running-mate, e.g. Bob Kerrey, Dick Gephardt, Mario Cuomo, Indiana Representative Lee H. Hamilton, Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford, Florida Senator Bob Graham, and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
The Democratic Convention in New York City was essentially a solidification of the party around Clinton and Gore, though there was controversy over whether Jerry Brown would be allowed to speak. Brown did indeed speak and ultimately endorsed the Clinton campaign.
Another additional controversy concerned Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey, who sought a speaking slot at the convention but was not granted one. Casey complained that it was because of his outspoken pro-life views: he had warned the platform committee that Democrats were committing political suicide because of their support for abortion. Clinton supporters have said that Casey was not allowed to speak because he had not endorsed the ticket.
Popular vote results
Total popular vote number in primaries:
- Bill Clinton - 10,482,411 (52.01%)
- Jerry Brown - 4,071,232 (20.20%)
- Paul Tsongas - 3,656,010 (18.14%)
- Unpledged - 750,873 (3.73%)
- Bob Kerrey - 318,457 (1.58%)
- Tom Harkin - 280,304 (1.39%)
- Lyndon LaRouche - 154,599 (0.77%)
- Eugene McCarthy - 108,678 (0.54%)
- Charles Woods - 88,948 (0.44%)
- Larry Agran - 58,611 (0.29%)
- Ross Perot - 54,755 (0.27%)
- Ralph Nader - 35,935 (0.18%)
- Louis Stokes - 29,983 (0.15%)
- Angus Wheeler McDonald - 9,900 (0.05%)
- J. Louis McAlpine - 7,911 (0.04%)
- George W. Benns - 7,887 (0.04%)
- Rufus T. Higginbotham - 7,705 (0.04%)
- Tom Howard Hawks - 7,434 (0.04%)
- Stephen Bruke - 5,261 (0.03%)
- Tom Laughlin - 5,202 (0.03%)
- Tom Shiekman - 4,965 (0.03%)
- Jeffrey F. Marsh - 2,445 (0.01%)
- George Ballard - 2,067 (0.01%)
- Ray Rollinson - 1,206 (0.01%)
- Leonora Fulani - 402 (0.00%)
- Douglas Wilder - 240 (0.00%)
- Bill Clinton - 3,372 (80.27%)
- Jerry Brown - 596 (14.19%)
- Paul Tsongas - 209 (4.98%)
- Robert P. Casey - 10 (0.24%)
- Patricia Schroeder - 8 (0.19%)
- Larry Agran - 3 (0.07%)
- Ron Daniels - 1 (0.02%)
- Al Gore - 1 (0.02%)
- Joe Simonetta 1 (0.02%)
Vice Presidential nomination
- Jay Rockefeller, U.S. senator from West Virginia
- Bob Graham, U.S. senator from Florida
- Lee H. Hamilton U.S. representative from Indiana.
- Tom Harkin, U.S. senator from Iowa
- Bob Kerrey, U.S. senator from Nebraska
- George Mitchell, U.S. senator from Maine
- Paul Tsongas, former U.S. senator from Massachusetts
- Doug Wilder, Governor of Virginia
- Harris Wofford, U.S. senator from Pennsylvania
Convention tally for Vice President
The story of the race was covered in the film The War Room and fictionalized into the novel and film Primary Colors.
- Clinton, Bill (2005). My Life. Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X.
- ^ Kagay, Michael R. (May 22, 1991). "History Suggests Bush's Popularity will eventually ebb". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5DC1E3FF931A15756C0A967958260. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
- ^ "Al Gore's son buster for drugs in hybrid". Reuters. July 5, 2007. http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0428148420070705?feedType=RSS&rpc=22&sp=true.
- ^ a b Walker, Jesse (2009-11-01) Five Faces of Jerry Brown, The American Conservative
- ^ Ifill, Gwen (1992-07-10). "Clinton Selects Senator Gore Of Tennessee As Running Mate". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE2DB133DF933A25754C0A964958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-03-27.
- ^ Al Gore from the United States Senate
- ^ The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution May 19, 1992 Page: A/8
- ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=55212
- ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=58505
- ^ a b Ifill, Gwen (July 10, 1992). "THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Democrats; CLINTON SELECTS SENATOR GORE OF TENNESSEE AS RUNNING MATE". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE2DB133DF933A25754C0A964958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
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Reforms United States presidential election, 1992 Democratic Party
Convention · Primaries
Convention · Primaries
Independent Other independent and third party candidates Libertarian Party Natural Law Party New Alliance Party Prohibition PartyNominee: Earl Dodge Socialist Party USA Socialist Workers PartyNominee: James Warren
VP Nominee: Willie Mae Reid
U.S. Taxpayers PartyNominee: Howard Phillips
VP Nominee: Albion Knight, Jr.
Workers World PartyNominee: Gloria La Riva
VP Nominee: Larry Holmes
Independents and other candidates Other 1992 elections: House • Senate • Gubernatorial
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