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In 2003, even though polls show he would be a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, John Kerry declines, saying that the "signs say 'yes', but my heart says 'no'." Howard Dean, seeing his chance at getting the nomination, announces his candidacy. With John Kerry not obscuring his high initial poll numbers, Governor Dean wins a majority amount of states in the Democratic primaries and wins the nomination.
Following the same campaign strategy that OTL John Kerry used, Howard Dean manages to secure major Electoral College states. However, Dean campaigns more heavily in Iowa and Virginia, winning the states in the Presidential Election.
Virginia, a heavily contested state, is selected for a recount, and Dean eventually wins out, as he won the high-population counties of Fairfax and Virginia Beach.
Under the two-term Dean administration, the Iraq War is brought to an end in 2007, the United States gains Universal Healthcare (at the cost of increased national debt), embassies are opened up in Iran (which is later stormed and burned down) and North Korea, and Omar Al-Bashir's regime in Sudan is toppled.