|‹ 2004 2012 ›|
|United States Presidential election, 2008|
|November 4, 2008|
|Candidate||Jay Leno||Patrick Mead|
|Running mate||Bruce Springsteen||John Clark|
|Blue indicates Leno/Springsteen, Red indicates Mead/Clark|
The United States Presidential election of 2008 was held on November 4, 2008. Democratic incumbent Jay Leno of Massachusetts was eligible for reelection to a second term and defeated Nationalist Governor Patrick Mead of Huron. In his sizable landslide victory, Leno earned more votes than any candidate in history and earned more electoral votes (414) than any other Democrat. He became the first Democrat to win two elections since William Jennings Bryan in 1908 and handed the Democratic Party control of the White House for two consecutive terms, something they had not achieved since the 1950s. Mead became the first Nationalist Presidential candidate to earn fewer than 200 electoral votes since the 19th century with his 194.
National Party Nomination
With the economy strong in mid-to-late 2007, many Nationalist politicians were wary of jumping into the fray despite their sizable gains in the 2006 midterms. Amongst the front runners were Senator Jim Bicky of Texas, who had placed second to Jeb Bush in the 2004 primaries; 2004 Vice Presidential nominee and former Congresswoman Deborah Harding; Huron Governor Patrick Mead; Governor Wayne Blunt of Colorado, viewed as a potential swing state; former Governor of Iowa and Redford Secretary of Agriculture Tom Cross; New York Governor Brian Williams; former Nova Scotia Governor John F. Hamm, who ran despite the fact that he would be 70 upon election; Senator Kelsey Grammer of Florida, a leader of the party's conservative wing and the second-ranking Nationalist leader in the Senate; Governor as well as a handful of fringe candidates from the conservative wing, the libertarian wing, and the Northeastern liberal wing. Williams, Cross and Harding eventually declined to run.
Based on the primary draw, the first primary was to be held in Minnesota on January 8, 2008 followed by a double-header primary on January 15 in Oregon and Alabama. The four prominent nominees - Grammer, Bicky, Mead and Blunt - agreed to a debate in late December 2007 along with Hamm and Congressman Jack Ford of Florida. In the debate, Mead was seen as emerging as the victory, especially when he criticized a 2005 speech by Bicky on the subject of religion in public schools. While many Southern conservatives were outraged by Mead's statement, he comfortably won the Minnesota primary, giving himself a strong advantage.
Heading into the next round of primaries, Bicky and Grammer campaigned heavily in Alabama while Mead and Blunt headed to Oregon. Some analysts wondered if the primaries would serve as elimination rounds leading to two main candidates the rest of the way, especially with the crucial California primary approaching two weeks later. Mead handily won the Oregon primary despite a late surge by Blunt in polling, and Bicky blew out Grammer in Alabama despite Grammer being known as a more reliably conservative candidate. Grammer withdrew from the race two days later.
With two weeks to go before the California primary, Blunt was seen as placing all of his energy on that primary. With comfortable leads in the polls for most of the week, he eventually persuaded Hamm to drop out and endorse him on the eve of the California primary. Despite this, Mead nearly recouped the margin and with California doling out proportional delegates, Blunt's victory was subdued and didn't result in the overwhelming momentum he had hoped for to recover from his first three primary losses.
With a Midwestern, Mountain Western and Southern candidate remaining, the race moved to Super Tuesday, on February 11, with fourteen states holding their primaries that day. Mead barnstormed the country, bolstered by an endorsement by Grammer in Florida, and eked out narrow wins in winner-take-all primaries in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri while reaping the rewards of proportional delegations in Georgia, Iowa and Virginia, all of which he placed first in. With six states to four for Blunt (Colorado, Nevada, Sequoyah and Louisiana) and Bicky (Kansas, Dakota, Montana, Mississippi), he had the clear momentum. Bicky, who had lost two states neighboring his own and with the fewest delegates of the four candidates, withdrew from the race afterwards, endorsing Blunt.
There would not be a primary for another month, this time with big-ticket states in Huron, New York and Texas all on March 3. With winner-take-all Huron guaranteed and with Governor Williams campaigning with him in upstate New York and suburban Long Island, Mead carried both states while Blunt narrowly claimed winner-take-all Texas while earning about a third of Mead's delegates in New York despite earning 45% of the vote. With Mead carrying a strong mathematical advantage into the late March primaries in Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, Washington and Illinois, Blunt withdrew the next week after seeing Mead with substantial leads in all three states. With only fringe candidates left, Mead secured the mathematical delegates required over the next four weeks to guarantee the nomination.
National Party Convention
The National Party held its convention in Milwaukee, WI, hoping to continue to expand on their surprising win there in 2004. Two weeks, before the convention, Mead picked moderate Alabama Senator John Clark as his running mate, signalling that the National Party intended to continue to make a play for the south in the face of clear Democratic messages aimed at white working-class voters in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Georgia. Clark, who was of Seminole ancestry on his father's side, became the first mixed-race candidate in American political history.
At the convention, New York Governor Brian Williams was the keynote speaker. In his convention address, Clark spoke of a "multi-racial national consensus - that we are the fruit of our toils, the product of our struggles, and the sum of our parts." Mead promised in his speech that he would "get tough" on France, reorient America's foreign policy interests towards the Middle East, and reinvest in American energy production to lower reliance on Alaskan oil and natural gas.