The U.S. Presidential Election, 1940 was held in the midst of World War II and pitted war-time President Winston Churchill against Iowa Governor Henry A. Wallace.
President Churchill and Vice President Landon were renominated unopposed.
The Democrat front-runners in this election were Texas Senator Morris Sheppard, Georgia Senator Richard Russell, and Senate Minority Leader Pat Harrison.
In the primaries (which featured over a half dozen southern primaries) Sheppard won his home state of Texas and several other states including California. Harrison carried primaries in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Russell carried his home state of Georgia plus West Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. In the primaries another candidate; Iowa Governor Henry A. Wallace who several primaries and soon became a front-runner for the nomination.
At the convention, Sheppard and Harrison traded the lead over the first five ballots. On the sixth ballot Russell withdrew and endorsed Wallace, with this Wallace took the lead on the seventh ballot. Wallace won the nomination on the eighteenth ballot. Russell was nominated for vice president on the second ballot over former New York Governor Herbert Lehman.
One of the other highlights of the convention was the push by many to lower the requirement of nomination from 2/3s to a majority of voting delegates. Although their was support, southern and westen delegates defeated the proposal.
President Churchill always held a considerable lead in the polls but Wallace found support from many liberals and former isolationists. Although the national was united behind the war effort, many Democrats hoped to undermine Churchill by attacking his war policies. Unlike the Republicans, the Democrat party has a long history of being anti-war when a Republican is in the White House. American victories in Europe and Africa in September and October secured President Churchill's landslide re-election.
This election marked the first time since reconstruction that a Republican had won a majority of the total populor vote in the old Confederacy (Churchill 51%/Wallace 49%).
|Candidate||Party||Popular vote||Electoral vote||Running mate|
|Winston Churchill||Republican||35,020,765 (60.9%)||442||Alfred M. Landon|
|Henry A. Wallace||Democrat||22,500,000 (38.4%)||89||Richard Russell Jr.|
The Republicans swamped the Democrats, winning over 70 seats in the Senate and 320 in the House.