Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1968

Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1968

Infobox Election
election_name = Republican Presidential Primaries, 1968
country = United States
type = presidential
ongoing = no
previous_election = Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1964
previous_year = 1964
next_election = Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1972
next_year = 1972
election_date = 1968

nominee1 = Ronald Reagan
party1 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state1 = California
states_carried1 = 1
popular_vote1 = 1,696,632
percentage1 = 37.93%

nominee2 = Richard Nixon
party2 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state2 = New York
states_carried2 = 9
popular_vote2 = 1,679,443
percentage2 = 37.54%

nominee3 = Jim Rhodes
party3 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state3 = Ohio
states_carried3 = 1
popular_vote3 = 614,492
percentage3 = 13.74%

nominee4 = Nelson Rockefeller
party4 = Republican Party (United States)
home_state4 = New York
states_carried4 = 1
popular_vote4 = 164,340
percentage4 = 3.67%


map_size = 300px
map_caption =
before_election = Barry Goldwater
before_party =
after_election = Richard Nixon
after_party =

Republican Candidates

* Clifford P. Case, U.S. senator from New Jersey
* Hiram L. Fong, U.S. senator from Hawaii
* Richard M. Nixon, former Vice President and 1960 presidential nominee from California
* Ronald W. Reagan, Governor of California
* James A. Rhodes, Governor of Ohio and candidate for the 1964 nomination
* Nelson A. Rockefeller, Governor of New York and candidate for the 1960 and 1964 nominations
* George W. Romney, Governor of Michigan and candidate 1964 nomination
* Harold E. Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota and candidate for the 1944, 1948, 1952 and 1964 nominations
* John A. Volpe, Governor of Massachusetts
* William C. Westmoreland, US Army General and Commander of US Forces in South Vietnam from South Carolina

Candidates gallery

Potential candidates who did not run

The primaries

The front-runner for the Republican nomination was former Vice President Richard M. Nixon, and to a great extent the story of the Republican primary campaign and nomination is the story of one Nixon opponent after another entering the race and then dropping out.

Nixon's first challenger was Michigan Governor George W. Romney. A Gallup poll in mid-1967 showed Nixon with 39%, followed by Romney with 25%. However, in a slip of the tongue, Romney told a news reporter that he had been "brainwashed" by the military and the diplomatic corps into supporting the Vietnam War; the remark led to weeks of ridicule in the national news media. As the year 1968 opened, Romney was opposed to further American intervention in Vietnam and had decided to run as the Republican version of Eugene McCarthy (New York Times 2/18/1968). Romney's support faded slowly, and he withdrew from the race on February 28, 1968. (New York Times 2/29/1968).

Nixon won a resounding victory in the important New Hampshire primary on March 12, winning 78% of the vote. Antiwar Republicans wrote in the name of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the leader of the GOP's liberal wing, who received 11% of the vote and became Nixon's new challenger. Nixon led Rockefeller in the polls throughout the primary campaign. Rockefeller defeated Nixon in the Massachusetts primary on April 30 but otherwise fared poorly in the state primaries and conventions.

By early spring, California Governor Ronald Reagan, the leader of the GOP's conservative wing, had become Nixon's chief rival. In the Nebraska primary on May 14, Nixon won with 70% of the vote to 21% for Reagan and 5% for Rockefeller. While this was a wide margin for Nixon, Reagan remained Nixon's leading challenger. Nixon won the next primary of importance, Oregon, on May 15 with 65% of the vote and won all the following primaries except for California (June 4), where only Reagan appeared on the ballot. Reagan's margin in California gave him a plurality of the nationwide primary vote, but when the Republican National Convention assembled, Nixon had 656 delegates according to a UPI poll (with 667 needed for the nomination).

Total popular vote

* Ronald Reagan - 1,696,632 (37.93%)
* Richard Nixon - 1,679,443 (37.54%)
* James A. Rhodes - 614,492 (13.74%)
* Nelson A. Rockefeller - 164,340 (3.67%)
* Unpledged - 140,639 (3.14%)
* Eugene McCarthy (write-in) - 44,520 (1.00%)
* Harold Stassen - 31,655 (0.71%)
* John Volpe - 31,465 (0.70%)
* Others - 21,456 (0.51%)
* George Wallace (write-in) - 15,291 (0.34%)
* Robert Kennedy (write-in) - 14,524 (0.33%)
* Hubert Humphrey (write-in) - 5,698 (0.13)
* Lyndon Johnson (write-in) - 4,824 (0.11%)
* George Romney - 4,447 (0.10%)
* Raymond P. Shafer - 1,223 (0.03%)
* William W. Scranton - 724 (0.02%)
* Charles H. Percy - 689 (0.02%)
* Barry M. Goldwater - 598 (0.01%)
* John V. Lindsay - 591 (0.01%) At the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Reagan and Rockefeller planned to unite their forces in a stop-Nixon movement, but the strategy fell apart when neither man agreed to support the other for the nomination. Nixon won the nomination on the first ballot. Nixon then chose Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew to be his Vice-Presidential candidate, despite complaints from within the GOP that Agnew was an unknown quantity, and that a better-known and more popular candidate, such as Romney, should have been the Vice-Presidential nominee. It was also reported that Nixon's first choice for running mate was his longtime friend and ally, Robert Finch, who was Lt. Governor of California since 1967 and later his HEW Secretary, but Finch declined the offer.

Candidates for the Vice-Presidential nomination

* Spiro T. Agnew, Governor of Maryland
* Edward W. Brooke, U.S. senator from Massachusetts
* George H.W. Bush, U.S. representative from Texas
* John Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island
* Daniel J. Evans, Governor of Washington
* Robert H. Finch, Lt. Governor of California
* Mark O. Hatfield, U.S. senator from Oregon
* Jacob K. Javits, U.S. senator from New York
* John V. Lindsay, Mayor of New York City
* John A. Love, Governor of Colorado
* Rogers C.B. Morton, U.S. representative from Maryland
* Charles H. Percy, U.S. senator from Illinois
* Ronald W. Reagan, Governor of California
* James A. Rhodes, Governor of Ohio
* Nelson A. Rockefeller, Governor of New York
* George W. Romney, Governor of Michigan
* John G. Tower, U.S. senator from Texas
* John A. Volpe, Governor of Massachusetts

As of early 2008, this was the only time two siblings (Nelson and Winthrop Rockefeller) received delegate votes at a major party convention.

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