1996 Republican National Convention

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1996 Republican National Convention
1996RepublicanNationalConventionLogo.png
1996 Presidential Election
Bob Dole, PCCWW photo portrait.JPG Jack Kemp official portrait.jpg
Nominees
Dole and Kemp
Convention
Date(s) August 12 - August 15
City San Diego, California
Venue San Diego Convention Center
Keynote speaker Susan Molinari
Candidates
Presidential nominee Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas
Vice Presidential nominee Fmr. SECHUD Jack Kemp of New York
1992  ·  2000

The 1996 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States convened at the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) in San Diego, California, from August 12 to August 15, 1996. The convention nominated Bob Dole, former Senator from Kansas, for President and Jack Kemp, former Representative from suburban Buffalo, New York, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, for Vice President.

Political context[edit]

After a bitter primary, Dole had secured the Republican nomination—but at high cost, financially and politically. The Party had lost momentum after President Bill Clinton successfully co-opted the historically Republican issues of crime and welfare reform and portrayed House Speaker Newt Gingrich as an extremist.

Within his own party, Dole was under pressure from both sides of the political spectrum. Social liberals such as California Governor Pete Wilson and Massachusetts Governor William Weld loudly argued to remove the Human Life Amendment plank from the convention platform. On the right, primary opponents Patrick Buchanan and Alan Keyes withheld endorsements—Buchanan staged a rally for his supporters in nearby Escondido on the eve of the San Diego convention.[1] Indeed, past comments by Kemp labeling Dole as a tax-raiser surfaced. The long, bitter primary had also left the Dole campaign short of funds as a result of federal election spending limits in the months leading up to the convention.

The Dole campaign sought to use the convention to unite the party, to appeal to political moderates, and to highlight Dole's honorable service in World War II and in the U.S. Senate. Nearly all floor speeches were delivered by moderate or liberal Republicans, including the keynote address by New York Congresswoman Susan Molinari, and Dole was nominated by fellow veteran and Arizona Senator John McCain. Gingrich, who less than two years ago had been a star of the party, was denied a prime time slot altogether, as was Buchanan, who had finished in second place for the nomination, with over 200 delegates. However, supporters in the socially conservative grassroots organizations such as the Christian Coalition directed the convention to adopt a conservative platform with little controversy, and Buchanan released his delegates at the last minute.

The convention ran smoothly overall, and the Dole-Kemp team seemed to benefit in the short term. Opinion polls taken shortly after the conclusion of the convention showed the Republicans with a significant "bump" of increased support. However, this bump was extremely temporary, and they continued to trail the incumbent Clinton-Gore team; they went on to lose the election by almost nine points.

Order of speakers[edit]

August 12[edit]

August 13[edit]

August 14[edit]

Convention tally:

*Bob Dole 1928

Kemp was nominated by voice vote.

August 15[edit]

Logistics[edit]

The 1996 RNC was the first presidential nominating convention to be held in San Diego, and the only Republican National Convention held in Southern California. (The 1972 RNC was scheduled for the San Diego Sports Arena but relocated to Miami Beach, Florida, due to scandal.)[3] Indeed, San Diego's bid had been considered unlikely to win. The SDCC was far smaller than its predecessor venues, the Astrodome in Houston and the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, and its normal seating layout left several sections and skyboxes with obstructed views. Ardent lobbying by Mayor Susan Golding, who some named as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate in 1998, and by Governor Wilson, himself to seek the 1996 presidential nomination, helped secure San Diego's selection in 1994. The San Diego Host Committee, "Sail to Victory '96," was organized on September 8, 1995.

It would also be the first national party convention since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which sparked heightened concerns over terrorism. The possibility that the explosion of TWA Flight 800 weeks before was a terrorist incident also weighed on convention planners. The Convention Center was located on the waterfront, near a harbor frequented by thousands of small boats—upon one of which Dole and Kemp made their ceremonial arrival. The police, Coast Guard, and other security presence was massive.

Convention planners situated the designated protest area several blocks away from the convention center, sparking criticism and legal action. It was later moved to a parking lot closer to the building which had originally been designated as a transportation center for the handicapped.

The convention was successful for San Diego, bringing positive publicity to the city and its revitalized waterfront and Gaslamp Quarter. The convention committee, however, overran its budget by some $20 million, largely because of the extra costs of security.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buchanan Rejects Offer for Small Role at Convention. The New York Times. July 30, 1996.
  2. ^ Gifts of Speech - Nancy Reagan
  3. ^ Ancona, Vincent S. (Fall 1992). "When the Elephants Marched Out of San Diego". The Journal of San Diego History 38 (4) (San Diego Historical Society). Retrieved July 8, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
1992
Houston, Texas
Republican National Conventions Succeeded by
2000
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania