Democratic Party presidential primaries, 1980

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Democratic Presidential Primaries, 1980
United States
1976 ←
January 21 to June 3, 1980 → 1984

  Jimmy Carter.jpg Ted Kennedy, official photo portrait crop.jpg Jerry Brown 1978 cropped.jpg
Nominee Jimmy Carter (inc.) Ted Kennedy Jerry Brown
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Home state Georgia Massachusetts California
States carried 37 (PR) 11 (D.C.) 0
Popular vote 10,043,016 7,381,693 575,296
Percentage 51.13% 37.58% 2.93%

1980DemocraticPresidentialPrimaries.svg


President before election

Jimmy Carter

Democratic presidential candidate-elect

Jimmy Carter

The 1980 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 1980 U.S. presidential election. Incumbent President Jimmy Carter was again selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1980 Democratic National Convention held from August 11 to August 14, 1980 in New York City. This was the last time during the 20th century that an incumbent president would lose a state's presidential primary.

Primary race[edit]

In October of 1978, Iran, a major oil supplier to the United States at the time, was experiencing a major uprising that severely damaged its oil infrastructure and greatly weakened its capability to produce oil.[1] In January 1979, shortly after Iran's leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country, lead Iranian opposition figure Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from a 14-year exile and installed an Islamist regime that was hostile towards the United States.[1] The damage that resulted from Khomeini's rise to power would soon be felt throughout many American cities.[1] In the spring and summer of 1979 inflation was on the rise and various parts of the country were experiencing energy shortages.[2] The gas lines last seen just after the Arab/Israeli war of 1973 were back and President Carter was widely blamed.

President Carter's approval ratings were very low -- 28% according to Gallup,[3] with some other polls giving even lower numbers. In July Carter returned from Camp David to reshuffle his cabinet and give a televised address to the nation widely dubbed the "malaise" speech, though the word malaise was never used. While the speech caused a brief upswing in the president's approval rating, the decision to dismiss several cabinet members was widely seen as a rash act of desperation, causing his approval rating to plummet back into the twenties. Some Democrats felt it worth the risk to mount a challenge to Carter in the primaries. Although Hugh Carey and William Proxmire decided not to run, Senator Edward M. Kennedy finally made his long-expected run at the Presidency.

Ted Kennedy had been asked to take his brother Robert’s place at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and had refused, in fear of his own safety. He ran for Senate Majority Whip in 1969, but many had thought that he was going to use that as a platform for 1972.[4] But then came the notorious Chappaquiddick incident that killed Kennedy's car passenger Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy refused to run for president in 1972 and 1976. Many of his supporters suspected that Chappaquiddick had destroyed any ability he had to win on a national level. However, in the summer of 1979, Kennedy consulted with his extended family, and that fall, he let it leak out that because of Carter’s failings, 1980 might indeed be the year. Gallup had him beating the president by over two to one.

Kennedy’s official announcement was scheduled for early November. A television interview with Roger Mudd of CBS a few days before the announcement went badly, however. Kennedy gave an "incoherent and repetitive"[5] answer to the question of why he was running, and the polls, which showed him leading the President by 58-25 in August now had him ahead 49-39.[6] Meanwhile, US animosity towards the Khomeini regime greatly accelerated after 52 American hostages were taken by a group of Islamist students and militants at the US embassy in Tehran and Carter’s approval ratings jumped in the 60-percent range in some polls, due to a "rally ‘round the flag" effect[7] and an appreciation of Carter's calm handling of the crisis. Kennedy was suddenly left far behind. Carter beat Kennedy decisively in Iowa and New Hampshire. Carter decisively defeated Kennedy everywhere except Massachusetts, until impatience began to build with the President’s strategy on Iran. When the primaries in New York and Connecticut came around, it was Kennedy who won.

Momentum built for Ted Kennedy after Carter's attempt to rescue the hostages on April 25th ended in disaster and drew further skepticism towards Carter leadership ability.[8] Nevertheless Carter was still able to maintain a substantial lead even after Kennedy swept the last batch of primaries, which took place mostly in southern and rural states, in June. Despite this, Kennedy refused to drop out, and the 1980 Democratic National Convention was one of the nastiest on record. On the penultimate day, Kennedy conceded the nomination and called for a more liberal party platform in what many saw as the best speech of his career. On the platform on the final day, Kennedy for the most part ignored Carter.

Candidates gallery[edit]

Nominee[edit]

Withdrew During Convention[edit]

Withdrew During Primaries[edit]

Declined to Seek Nomination[edit]

Statewide contest by winner[edit]

Results by state

Jimmy Carter Ted Kennedy Jerry Brown Lyndon LaRouche Cliff Finch Richard Kay Unpledged Others
 
January 21st Iowa caucuses 59.16%[9] 31.23%[9] - - - - 9.61%[9] -
February 10th Maine caucuses 43.6%[10] 40.2%[10] 13.9%[10] - - - 2.4%[10] -
February 26th New Hampshire 47.08%[11] 37.30%[11] 9.60%[11] 2.08%[11] - 0.51%[11] - 3.45%[11]
March 4th Massachusetts 28.70%[11] 65.07%[11] 3.47%[11] - - - 2.17%[11] 0.59%[11]
March 4th Vermont beauty contest* 73.08% 25.53% 0.90% 0.02% - - - 0.48%
March 11th Alabama 81.59% 13.22% 4.01% - - - 0.70% 0.49%
March 11th Florida 60.69% 23.20% 4.87% - - 1.75% 9.50% -
March 11th Georgia 88.04% 8.40% 1.89% 0.13% 0.36% 0.22% 0.96% -
March 16th Puerto Rico 51.67% 48.04% 0.19% - - - - 0.10%
March 18th Illinois 65.01% 29.96% 3.26% 1.60% - - - 0.17
March 25th Connecticut 41.47% 46.92% 2.56% 2.67% - - 6.37% -
March 25th New York 41.08% 58.92% - - - - - -
April 1st Kansas 56.63% 31.62% 4.87% - 0.32% - - 0.81%
April 1st Wisconsin 56.17% 30.10% 11.83% 1.10% 0.29% - 0.43% 0.08%
April 5th Louisiana 55.74% 22.52% 4.68% - 3.11% 0.94% 11.60% 1.42%
April 22nd Pennsylvania 45.40% 45.68% 2.34% - - - 5.82% 0.78%
April 22nd Vermont caucuses 32%[12] 45%[12] - - - - 23%[12] -
April 26th Michigan caucuses 46.68%[13] 48.08%[13] - - - - 5.24%[13] -
May 3rd Texas 55.93% 22.81% 2.58% - - - 18.68% -
May 6th Washington D.C. 36.94% 61.67% - 1.39% - - - -
May 6th Indiana 67.68% 32.32% - - - - - -
May 6th North Carolina 70.09% 17.73% 2.91% - - - 9.28% -
May 6th Tennessee 75.22% 18.07% 1.90% 0.31% 0.56% - 3.91% 0.01%
May 13th Nebraska 46.87% 37.58% 3.56% 0.76% - - 10.42% 0.81%
May 13th Maryland 47.48% 37.96% 3.00% 0.92% 1.03% - 9.62% -
May 20th Oregon 56.83% 31.22% 9.37% - - - - 2.57%
May 20th Michigan beauty contest** - - 29.38% 11.41% - - 46.40% 12.81%
May 27th Arkansas 60.09% 17.52% - - 4.34% - 18.05% -
May 27th Idaho 62.17% 21.96% 4.12% - - - 11.76% -
May 27th Kentucky 66.92% 22.96% - - 1.05% 1.09% 8.00% -
May 27th Nevada 37.58% 28.82% - - - - 33.60% -
June 3rd California 37.64% 44.80% 4.04% 2.13% - - 11.38% -
June 3rd Montana 51.46% 36.65% - - - - 11.89% -
June 3rd New Jersey 37.87% 56.18% - - - - 3.48% 2.48%
June 3rd New Mexico 41.80% 46.26% - 3.01% 2.82% - 6.11% -
June 3rd Ohio 51.06% 44.16% - 2.97% - 1.81% - -
June 3rd Rhode Island 25.85% 68.30% 0.81% 3.03% - - 2.01% -
June 3rd South Dakota 45.45% 48.60% - - - - 5.95% -
June 3rd West Virginia 62.18% 37.82% - - - - - -
Legend:   1st place
(popular vote)
2nd place
(popular vote)
3rd place
(popular vote)

*  Vermont delegates selected via caucus process beginning April 22nd
** Michigan delegates selected via caucus process beginning April 26th

Popular vote[edit]

Primaries total popular vote[14]

  • Jimmy Carter (inc.) - 10,043,016 (51.13%)
  • Ted Kennedy - 7,381,693 (37.58%)
  • Unpledged - 1,288,423 (6.56%)
  • Jerry Brown - 575,296 (2.93%)
  • Lyndon LaRouche - 177,784 (0.91%)
  • Others - 79,352 (0.40%)
  • Richard B Kay - 48,061 - (0.25%)
  • Cliff Finch - 48,032 (0.25%)
  • Bob Maddox - 4,002 (0.02%)
  • Donald J Reaux - 2,255 (0.01%)

Convention[edit]

Presidential tally[15]

In the vice presidential roll call, Mondale was re-nominated with 2,428.7 votes to 723.3 not voting and 179 scattering.

Key results[edit]

Iowa caucuses[edit]

Iowa caucuses, 1980[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jimmy Carter (Incumbent) 59.1%
Democratic Ted Kennedy 31.2%
Democratic uncommitted 9.6%
Majority 27.9%

Presidential preference, state delegate equivalents, 96% of precincts reporting.[9]

Maine caucuses[edit]

Maine caucuses, 1980[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jimmy Carter (Incumbent) 14,528 43.6%
Democratic Ted Kennedy 13,384 40.2%
Democratic Jerry Brown 4,621 13.9%
Democratic uncommitted 793 2.4%
Majority 1,144 3.4%

At 4:38 p.m.—before a third of the caucuses had even begun—CBS interrupted its regular programming with the bulletin:

CBS News estimates that when the caucuses are completed, President Carter will have won just over half of [the Maine] delegates. Second will be Senator Kennedy with just over a third...We repeat, President Carter is the winner.[16]

New Hampshire primary[edit]

New Hampshire primary, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Jimmy Carter (Incumbent) 52,692 47.08%
Democratic Ted Kennedy 41,745 37.30%
Democratic Jerry Brown 10,743 9.60%
Democratic other 6,750 6.03%
Majority 10,947 9.78%

Massachusetts primary[edit]

Massachusetts primary, 1980
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Edward Kennedy 590,393 65.07%
Democratic Jimmy Carter (Incumbent) 260,401 28.70%
Democratic Jerry Brown 31,498 3.47%
Democratic no preference 19,663 2.17%
Democratic other 5,368 0.59%
Majority 329,992 36.37%

Further reading[edit]

Books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Oil Squeeze". Time magazine. 1979-02-05. Archived from the original on 7 March 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Inflation-proofing". ConsumerReports.org. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  3. ^ "Poll: Bush approval mark at all-time low". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  4. ^ US News and World Report January 1969.
  5. ^ Allis, Sam (2009-02-18). "Chapter 4: Sailing Into the Wind: Losing a quest for the top, finding a new freedom". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  6. ^ Time Magazine, 11/12/79
  7. ^ http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0027(199012)34%3A4%3C588%3AFPAPPC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7
  8. ^ The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission
  9. ^ a b c d e Clymer, Adam (January 23, 1980). "Candidates shifting tactics". The New York Times. p. A1. 
    Winebrenner, Hugh; Goldford, Dennis J. (2010). "The 1980 caucuses: a media event becomes an institution". The Iowa precinct caucuses: the making of a media event (3rd ed.). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-1-58729-915-5. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Lindsay, Christopher (Associated Press) (February 15, 1980). "Carter margin over Kennedy smaller than first believed". LexisNexis Academic. Carter received 14,528 caucus votes, 43.6 percent; Kennedy received 13,384 votes, 40.2 percent; Brown received 4,621 votes, 13.9 percent; Uncommitted were 793 votes, 2.4 percent. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Elections Research Center (1981). Scammon, Richard M.; McGillivray, Alice V., eds. America votes 14: a handbook of contemporary American election statistics. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly. pp. 33–39. ISSN 0065-678X. OCLC 1240412. 
  12. ^ a b c . (April 26, 1980). "Kennedy and Bush still losing in delegates". National Journal 12 (17): 69. ISSN 0360-4217. Vermont—Kennedy did surprisingly well in Democratic town and city caucuses on April 22 to choose delegates to the May 24 state convention, where the state's 12 national convention seats will be filled on the basis of the caucus vote. Kennedy won roughly 45 per cent of the vote to Carter's 32 per cent; the rest were uncommitted. 
  13. ^ a b c Johnson, Malcolm (Associated Press) (April 28, 1980). "Kennedy wins again but gains little". LexisNexis Academic. The final totals showed Kennedy with 7,793 votes and Carter with 7,567. About 850 votes were divided between uncommitted and other candidates, but neither category had enough votes to win a delegate. 
  14. ^ "US President - D Primaries Race - Feb 26, 1980". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  15. ^ "US President - D Convention Race - Aug 11, 1980". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  16. ^ Reid, T.R. (February 12, 1980). "CBS prediction of Maine vote angers winner and losers alike". The Washington Post. p. A4. 
    Clymer, Adam (February 14, 1980). "Kennedy aide says vote report helped Carter in Maine caucuses". The New York Times. p. A22. 
    Associated Press (May 1, 1980). "Carter and Kennedy tie in Maine". The New York Times. p. 30.