1984 United States presidential election (Nixon's The One!)

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1984 United States presidential election

← 1980 November 6, 1984 1988 →

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 53.3% Increase 0.7 pp

Nominee Elliot Richardson Hugh Carey
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Massachusetts New York
Running mate Vernon Romney Henry Howell
Electoral vote 529 9
States carried 49 1 + DC
Popular vote 56,898,350 35,106,309
Percentage 61.4% 37.9%

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Richardson/Romney, blue denotes those won by Carey/Howell. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Elliot Richardson

Elected President

Elliot Richardson

The 1984 United States presidential election was the 50th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1984. Incumbent Republican President Elliot Richardson defeated three-term New York Governor Hugh Carey, the Democratic candidate, in a landslide victory, winning 529 electoral votes and 61.4 percent of the popular vote. No other candidate in United States history has ever matched Richardson's electoral vote total in a single election and it remains the largest presidential victory in history.

Richardson faced only token opposition in his bid for re-nomination by the Republicans, so he and Vice President Vernon Romney were easily re-nominated. Carey, widely considered a political heavyweight within the Democratic Party, received support from organized labor and working class voters, and easily defeated his opponent Albert Brewer outside of the southeast.

Concerns about Hugh Carey's marital problems became a controversy during the campaign. Carey brushed off concerns during the primary campaign and told his opponents "it's nobody business but my own." However, as the general election commenced, more details came forward about Carey's second wife and her false statements about previous marriages. The most controversial claim made by Evangeline Carey was her status as a widow, which was proven false as all three former husbands were still alive in 1984. While President Richardson refused to comment on his opponent's marriage, his surrogates made use of the news coverage to portray Carey as an opponent of "family values."

On election day, Richardson swept forty-nine out of fifty states, only losing West Virginia by 2,000 votes and the Democratic stronghold of the District of Columbia. Richardson even carried Carey's home state of New York by six points, running up lopsided margins in Upstate New York and the New York City suburbs. This election marked the first time since Reconstruction that a Republican carried the state of Alabama, as well as the first time that a Republican won every state of the former Confederate States of America.