1880 United States presidential election in California

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United States presidential election in California, 1880

← 1876 November 2, 1880 1884 →
  WinfieldScottHancock.png JamesGarfield.png
Nominee Winfield S. Hancock James A. Garfield
Party Democratic Republican
Home state Pennsylvania Ohio
Running mate William Hayden English Chester A. Arthur
Electoral vote 5 1
Popular vote 80,426 80,282
Percentage 48.98% 48.89%

President before election

Rutherford B. Hayes

Elected President

James A. Garfield

In the 1880 United States presidential election, California narrowly voted for the Democratic nominee, United States Army officer Winfield Hancock, over the Republican nominee, Ohio representative James A. Garfield. The 144-vote margin was the smallest in any statewide presidential election since Henry Clay won Maryland by only four votes in 1832, and as of 2017 it stands as by percentage of the vote the eleventh-closest statewide presidential election result on record – although California would later see even closer results in 1892 and 1912.[a] One elector cast a vote for Garfield.

This result constituted the first Democratic victory in California since 1856[1] when the Republican Party had only recently formed. The Democrats wouldn't carry the state again until 1892. The unexpected Democratic win was due almost entirely to the fact that Garfield was viewed as weaker than Hancock on the hot-bed issue of controlling immigration from China – which both major parties promised to do and which the California electorate was overwhelmingly in favor of.[2]

As a result of Garfield's loss, he became the first Republican to win the presidency without carrying California. This would not occur again until 120 years later.


United States presidential election in California, 1880[3]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Democratic Winfield Hancock 80,426 48.98% 5
Republican James A. Garfield 80,282 48.89% 1
Greenback James Weaver 3,381 2.06% 0
No party Write-ins 70 0.04% 0
Prohibition Neal S. Dow 54 0.03% 0
Anti-Masonic John W. Phelps 5 0.00% 0
Invalid or blank votes
Totals 167,218 100.00% 6
Voter turnout


  1. ^ Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections; Presidential General Election Results Comparison – California
  2. ^ Gold, Martin; Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress: A Legislative History; p. 141 ISBN 1587332353
  3. ^ "1880 Presidential General Election Results - California". Dave Leip's U.S. Election Atlas. Retrieved 2008-08-25.


  1. ^ Other closer results have been Florida in 2000 (closest), Maryland in 1904 (although voters voted for individual electors), Maryland in 1832, New Mexico in 2000, Kentucky in 1896 and 1952, Hawaii in 1960 and New Hampshire in 1916.