Friday, March 2, 2012

Kansas Presidential Elections, a brief look backwards.

2012 could end up looking a lot like 1964 where the Republican nominee was perceived as being too extreme to govern from the center.  If the Republicans split and form a third party, say they hijack America Elects, then this year could be like 1948 or 1992.  Below is a little history on Presidential elections in Kansas.

Kansas Presidential Election Summary

1864 marked the first time candidates from the Republican and Democratic Parties went head to head in the race for the White House.  Prior to 1864 it was not uncommon to see several candidates from the same political party vying for the nation's top job.  In 1836, for example, three Whigs competed against Vice President Martin Van Buren, the Democratic candidate.

Zachary Taylor was elected President from the Whig ticket in 1848.  His running mate, Vice President Millard Fillmore, was the last Whig to make a national run for office.  In 1856 he came in third behind the James Buchanan, the Democratic candidate and John Freemont, the Republican nominee who placed second.

Kansans first participation in Presidential elections also came in 1864.  This was the election in the midst of the Civil War.  Kansas went for Lincoln, as did every state in the Union save Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey.  Missouri voted for Lincoln over the Democratic candidate George McClellan.  In 1860, Lincoln came in fourth in Missouri behind Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas who garnered 35.52% of the vote.  Coming in second was John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party with 35.26% of the vote.  Missouri's third choice that year was John Breckenridge of the Southern Democratic party.  He earned 18.94% of the Show Me vote.  Lincoln's last place finish saw him gather only 10.28% of the Missouri vote.

By 1868 the Civil War was over and President Lincoln was dead.  General Ulysses S. Grant ran for the Republican Party and former New York Governor Horatio Seymour was the Democratic nominee.  Seymour was nominated on the fourth ballot despite have told the convention that he did not want to be the nominee.  Grant got 68.82% of the Kansas vote, 52.66% of the popular vote nationwide, and 72.8% of the Electoral College vote.

Kansas' 1872 results mirrored the 1868 returns.  President Grant took the state with 66.46% of the vote.  The Democratic nominee, Horace Greeley, earned 32.80% of the vote. Greeley ran in Kansas as a Liberal Republican.  Write in votes took 0.58% of the vote while Charles O'Connor, running as a Straight Democrat, came in last with 0.16% of the vote.

1876 was the year when the candidate winning the popular vote lost the White House by losing the electoral college.  Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won 63.10% of the Kansas vote.  Coming in second was the Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden with 30.53% of the vote.  The Greenback candidate, Peter Cooper, received 1% of the Kansas vote. 

Republicans continued their lock on Kansas in 1880 seeing James Garfield take 60.40% of the vote.  The Democratic candidate, Winfield Hancock, took 29.72% of the state's votes.  The Greenback party did much better in 1880 in Kansas getting 9.86% of the vote.

In 1884 the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, won the nation while losing Kansas.  Cleveland came in second with 33.90% of the vote behind Republican James Blaine who took 58.08% of the vote.  Benjamin Butler took 6.15% of the Kansas vote running as a Greenback.

Republicans took back the White House in 1888, the Greenbacks are gone, the Union Labor Party shows up, and the Democratic nominee, Grover Cleveland, came in second in Kansas with 31.03% of the vote.  Benjamin Harrison, the Republican, received 55.23% of the Kansas vote and coming in third was Alson Streeter with 11.41% of the vote.

In 1892 the Democratic Party won the White House, the Union Labor Party faded into history, and the Populist Party won the vote in Kansas.  James Weaver, running on the People's and Democratic Party,  got 50.20% of the vote.  Coming in second was Republican Benjamin Harrison with 48.40% of the vote.  Third place in Kansas went to John Bidwell running on the Prohibition ticket and getting 1.40% of the vote.

Kansas voted Democratic in 1896, the Republicans kept the White House, and three other parties entered the fracas.   William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic nominee, received 51.32% of the Kansas vote.  Coming in a close second was the Republican, William McKinley, with 47.63% of the vote.  Joshua Levering of the Prohibition Party took third with .51% of the vote.  Coming in fourth was John Palmer of the National Democratic Party with .36% of the vote.  Finally, fifth place went to Charles Bentley of the National Party with 0.19% of the votes cast.

William McKinley repeats as President in 1900, wins Kansas, and some familiar names begin showing up.  Kansas went for McKinley over the Democratic candidate Bryan by a margin of 52.56% to 45.96%.  John Woolley of the Prohibition Party took 1.02% of the vote while the Socialist candidate, Eugene V. Debs, garnered fourth place with 0.45% of all ballots cast.  Not on the ticket in Kansas was Joseph Maloney of the Socialist Labor party.  Teddy Roosevelt and Adlai Stevenson were the Vice Presidential candidates of their respective parties.

In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt keeps the Republican lock on Kansas and wins the White House defeating the Democratic nominee Alton Parker.  The Kansas vote split 64.81% to 26.23% in favor of Teddy Roosevelt.  Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist, 4.83% of the vote, coming in ahead of the Prohibition candidate, Silas Swallow, who had 2.22% of the vote, and Thomas Watson of the People's Party, who earned 1.90% of the Kansas vote.

Kansas went Republican again in 1908 voting for William Taft over William Jennings Bryan by a margin of 52.46% to 42.88% of the vote.  Eugene V. Debs on the Socialist Party ticket took 3.30% of the Kansas vote besting Eugene Chafin of the Prohibition Party, 1.34%, and Thomas Hisgen, of the Independent Party who ended up with 0.02% of the vote.

Democratic candidate Woodrow Wilson won a Kansas squeaker in 1912 besting Teddy Roosevelt 39.30% to 32.88%, a difference of 23,453 votes out of a total of 365,560 ballots cast.  This was the year that Roosevelt ran as an Independent.  President Taft, the Republican came in third with 20.47% of the vote.  Socialist Eugene V. Debs received 7.33% of the vote, while write in votes accounted for 0.02% of all votes.

In 1916 President Wilson retained the White House and won Kansas.  Wilson's 49.95% of the vote handed Republican Charles Evans Hughes the Kansas loss.  Hughes, who won 44.09% of the Kansas vote, went on to be a Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  A new Socialist, Allan Benson, received 3.92% of the Kansas vote while James Hanley of the Prohibition Party came in last with 2.05% of votes cast.

The 1920 election roared in with Warren G. Harding winning the White House and Kansas.  Harding's taking of 64.75% of the ballots made him the clear Kansas winner.   The Democratic nominee, James Cox, received 32.52% of the vote and Eugene V. Debs, again the standard bearer for the Socialist Party came in third with 2.72% of the vote.  There were 75 write in votes accounting for 0.01% of the vote.

Calvin Coolidge won Kansas, the White House, almost everything except Dixie and Wisconsin in 1924.  Coolidge swamped the Democratic candidate, John Davis, 61.54% to 23.60%.  Robert LaFollette ran nationally as a Progressive and was on the ballot in Kansas as an Independent.  LaFollette garnered 14.86% of the Kansas vote.  Three write in votes accounted for 0.00% of the vote.

The 1928 election was a nationwide landslide victory for Republicans and Herbert Hoover who won Kansas. In Kansas Hoover trounced Alfred Smith of the Democratic Party 72.02% to 27.06%.  Norman Thomas, of the Socialist Party, took 0.87% of the vote while Independent William Foster came in last with 0.04% of the vote.

After the Wall Street Crash and the onset of the Great Depression the 1932 election saw a Democratic landslide victory.  Franklin D. Roosevelt won the race and Kansas voted for him 53.56% to Hoover's 44.13%.  Socialist Norman Thomas came in last with 2.31% of the vote.

F.D.R. maintained his winning ways in Kansas and across the nation in 1936.  Landon only won Maine and Vermont in '36. Roosevelt won Kansas besting favorite son Alfred Landon 53.67% to 45.95%. %.  Socialist Norman Thomas came in third.  William Lemke running nationally for the short lived Union Party was not on the ballot in Kansas but did receive 497 write in votes for 0.06% of the total.

In 1940 Franklin Roosevelt won the White House but lost Kansas.  Republican Wendell Willke topped F.D.R. in the Kansas vote 56.86% to 42.40%.  Roger Babson of the Prohibition Party was third with 0.47% and Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party nominee, came in last with 0.27% or 2,347 votes.

Kansas bucked the national trend again in 1944 giving Thomas Dewey a 60.25% win in the Sunflower State.  F.D.R. held onto the White House despite only getting the support of only 39.18% of the Kansas vote.  The Prohibition Party's candidate, Claude Watson took 0.36% of the vote.   Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party nominee, came in last with 0.22%.

Kansas went Republican in 1948, America elected Harry S. Truman, J. Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats split and formed the States Rights Party, and it wasn't close in Kansas.  The ticket of Thomas Dewey and Earl Warren got all 8 Kansas electoral votes in '48 beating Harry Truman and Alben Barkley 53.63% to 44.61%.  Henry Wallace, running as a Progressive nationally was on the Kansas ballot as an Independent.  He got 2.37% of the Kansas vote.  Socialist Norman Thomas came in last with 0.29% of the vote.  Thurmond's States Rights Party was only on the ballots of the former States of the Confederacy.  Earl Warren went on to become an excellent Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

World War II was over and America liked Ike, Kansas' favorite son.  Ike swept most of the nation, except for a few Southern States.  In Kansas it was Eisenhower over Adlai Stevenson 68.77% to 30.50%.  Stuart Hamblen took 0.67% of the vote for the Prohibition Party and Darlington Hoopes got 530 votes for 0.06% of the vote.

1956 was a repeat win for Republican Dwight David Eisenhower who trounced Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee,  65.44% to 34.21%.  Enoch Holtwick of the Prohibition Party emerged with 0.35% of the total vote.

1960 brought America the first televised Presidential Debate between Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John Kennedy.  Nationwide the race was close in the popular vote (49.72% for Kennedy to 49.55% for Nixon) and the electoral college (303 for Kennedy to 219 for Nixon, there were 15 unpledged electors).  In Kansas Kennedy only won two counties, Ellis and Wyandotte.  Kansas handed Dick Nixon a 60.45% to 39.10% win.  Rutherford Decker received 0.45% of the vote for the Prohibition Party.

 John Kennedy was assassinated, Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson had succeeded Kennedy, Arizona's Senator Barry Goldwater had the Republican nomination.  L.B.J. had a huge victory, won election, and won Kansas 54.09% to Goldwater's 45.06%.  E. Harold Munn came in third in Kansas with 0.63% for the Prohibition Party.  Eric Hass ended up last with 0.22% of votes cast.

Wyandotte County, Kansas alone went for Hubert H. Humphrey in 1968.  Kansas handed former Vice President Richard M. Nixon a 54.84% to 34.72% statewide victory.  Nationally former Alabama Governor George Wallace, known as  the 20th Century's most influential loser, ran on the American Independent ticket.  In Kansas he was on the ballot as Conservative and garnered 10.19% of the Kansas vote.  E. Harold Munn and the Prohibition Party ended last with 0.25% of the vote.

In 1972 Republicans and Richard Nixon had a landslide victory winning all but the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. Nixon beat South Dakota's Democratic Senator George McGovern 67.66% to 29.50% in Kansas.  John Schmitz earned 2.38% of the vote for the Conservative Party.  E. Harold Munn and the Prohibition Party ended last with 0.46% of the vote.

1976.  After the Watergate scandal President Nixon resigned as President.  He was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford.  President Ford pardoned President Nixon, had a propensity for falling down, and in the debate with Carter said that Poland was not behind the Iron Curtain.  Still, it was close and Carter beat Ford while losing Kansas.  Ford and his running mate, favorite son Robert F. Dole, earned 52.49% of the vote to Carter's 44.94%.  Wisconsin's anti war Eugene McCarthy, whose 1968 New Hampshire primary victory led to L.B.J. withdrawing from the race, ran as an Independent and got 1.38% of the vote.  Conservative author Thomas Anderson ran on the American Independent Party ticket and got 0.49% of the Kansas vote.  Roger MacBride was the nominee of the Libertarian Party and ran in Kansas as an Independent, getting 0.37% of the vote.

In 1968 it was Ronald Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter, and it was barely a contest.  Carter had been badly wounded in the primary by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Teddy Kennedy.  Reagan dismissed the President in the debates with a series of "well, there you go again," remarks.  Iran had taken the American embassy hostage and the attempted rescue mission was botched.  Kansas, like most of America, handed the White House over to the Gipper.  Reagan took every Kansas county except Wyandotte, the margin was 57.85% to Carter's 33.29%.  Former Republican Congressman John B. Anderson ran as an Independent and got 6.96% of the Kansas vote. The Libertarian ticket was Edward Clark and David Koch.  Yes, that David Koch.  They got 1.48% of the vote in Kansas.

Reagan's 1984 reelection against former Vice President Walter F. Mondale was a landslide victory with only the District of Columbia and Minnesota, giving their Democratic favorite son, going against the tide.  In Kansas Regan beat Mondale  66.27% to 32.60%.  Bob Richards ran on the Conservative ticket getting 0.35% and David Bergland and the Libertarians received 0.33%.  Dennis Serrette ran as an Independent getting 0.25% of the Kansas vote while the Prohibition Party placed last with Earl Dodge and 0.21% of the vote.

In 1988 Reagan's Vice President, George H.W. Bush, defeated former Massachusetts Democratic Governor Mike Dukakis.  Dukakis won Ellis County, Wyandotte County, and Crawford County.  Bush took the balance of the state besting Dukakis 55.79% to 42.56%.  Congressman Ron Paul was the Libertarian Party's nominee and ran in Kansas as an Independent getting 1.26% of the Kansas vote.  Lenora Fulani ran nationally on the New Alliance Party ticket and was an Independent in the Kansas election.  Fulani was the first woman and the first African American to achieve ballot access in all fifty states.  In Kansas she got 0.38% of the vote.

1992 brought America Bill Clinton, the Democrat, who defeated George H.W. Bush's try for a second term.  Bush beat Clinton in Kansas 38.88 to 33.74% with H. Ross Perot coming in third with 26.99%.  Perot ran as an Independent.  Libertarian Andre Marou came in fourth with 0.37%.  Four persons split 179 write in votes for 0.02% of all ballots cast.

In 1996 Bill Clinton won reelection, Bob Dole was on the Republican ticket, and H. Ross Perot stayed in the game.  Kansas went for favorite son Robert F. Dole over Bill Clinton 54.29% to 36.08% with Perot 8.62% of the vote.  Harry Browne ran as a Libertarian getting 0.42% and Howard Phillips running nationally on the U.S. Taxpayers Party, and as an Independent in Kansas, got 0.33% of the vote.  There were 2,681 write in votes accounting for 0.25% of the vote.  The largest share of those went to Natural Law Party candidates John Hagelin, 1,655 votes, followed by Ralph Nader with 914 votes.  Charles Collins, from Florida, ran as an Independent with the endorsement of disgraced ex-Governor Evan Mecham of Arizona.  Mecham's group Constitutionally Unified Republic for Everybody, or C.U.R.E.  Collins came in last with 112 write in votes for 0.01% of the total.

2000 brings Bush v. Gore and the tightest race since the 1896 squeaker between Hayes and Tilden.  Ralph Nader ran on the Green Party, Pat Buchanan ran on the Reform Party, Harry Browne on the Libertarian Party, John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party ran as an Independent in Kansas, and Howard Phillips ran for the Constitution Party.  Bush beat Gore in Kansas 58.04% to 37.24%.  Nader took 3.37%, Buchanan got 0.69%, Browne ended up with 0.42%, Hagelin garnered 0.13%, and last was Phillips with 0.12%.

In 2004 George W. Bush won reelection and carried all but two Kansas counties, Douglas and Wyandotte. Bush beat the Democratic candidate, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, in Kansas 62.00% to 36.62%.  Ralph Nader got 0.79% for the  Reform Party, Michael Badnarick earned 0.34% of the vote for the Libertarians, and lesser candidates and write in votes accounted for another 0.25% of the vote.

Four years ago it was Republican Senator John McCain against Democratic Senator Barack Obama.  Obama carried the nation but lost Kansas 56.48% to 41.55%.  Obama won only three Kansas counties, Crawford, Douglas, and Wyandotte.  Ralph Nader was an Independent getting 0.85% of the Kansas vote. The Libertarian, Bob Barr, got 0.54% of the statewide vote. Charles O. Baldwin from the Reform Party earned 0.33% of the vote.  Four others split 3,002 votes for 0.25% of the vote.


  1. Nice bit of history - brought back some names and facts that I had forgotten.

  2. You got it wrong for 1996. Governor Evan Mecham never endorsed Charles Collins for president. He supported another candidate for the nomination of CURE and after Collins won, he endorsed Pat Buchanan for the Republican nomination.

    1. Sorry Anonymous, I got this one correct. Mecham was the force behind C.U.R.E. the "Constitutionally Unified Republic for Everyone". On July 25, 1996: the C.U.R.E. convention nominated Charles E. Collins. Former Arizona Governor Evan Mecham backs the party. See,