|‹ 2004 2012 ›|
|United States presidential election, 2008|
|November 4, 2008|
|Nominee||John Kerry||Pete Wilson|
|Running mate||Barack Obama||Jeb Bush|
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 55th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Democratic Party nominee Senator John Kerry and his running mate, Senator Barack Obama, defeated Republican Party nominee President Pete Wilson and his running mate, Vice President Jeb Bush, in the general election.
Senator Kerry is generally seen as having begun his campaign for the presidency immediately upon losing the vice presidency in 2004. As the war effort in Afghanistan began to falter in 2007, Kerry's poll numbers shot upwards, and he faced few serious rivals for the nomination. The only true challengers were Senator John Edwards from the economic left and Senator Barack Obama from the antiwar left. Both men, alongside centrist New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, were on Kerry's shortlist for vice president; Senator Obama was ultimately chosen.
Polls had shown for months leading up to primary season that voters overwhelmingly rejected President Wilson's handling of the war, and the beginning of the recession in late 2008 effectively ended his chance at reelection. There were numerous draft movements during the spring of 2008 to try to challenge the incumbent president; none were successful, although the one with the most support was an attempt to get Secretary of Defense John McCain, a war hero and veteran of numerous elections, to resign and run, but on July 9th, he officially denied interest in it. Other people approached to run were Vice President Jeb Bush and his brother, long-time Texas Governor George W. Bush. Both demurred. The only primary challenge filed was from Texas Representative Ron Paul, who ran a libertarian insurgent campaign that ultimately led to nothing. Rep. Paul briefly floated the idea of a third-party run with Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chaffee, but ultimately decided not to.
After the conventions, polls were relatively close between Kerry and Wilson; once the economy bottomed out, however, voters turned on Wilson. Later reports from insiders implied that the president had considered resigning from his campaign and allowing Vice President Bush to run in his place; although he ultimately did not, he did lose the election by a wide margin.