1998Flag of the United States.svg.png2006
Robert Ritchie Jim Simon John W. Wesley
Florida South Dakota Mississippi

The 2002 Republican Presidential Primary Election was a heated affair in which a dozen Republicans sought the chance to challenge Democrat President Josiah Bartlet.


Early preparations

After retaining the House and Senate in the 2000 mid-term elections, and President Bartlet's revelation of his MS, Republicans saw a opportunity to regain the White House.

Senators Simon and Moseley were considerd early front runners, with Governor Stephens, Senators Westen and  Kalmbach, and religious leader Wesley being second-tier candidates with Governor Ritchie and Daniel, Senator O'Rourke, and Representative Ross ranking third.

Former Vice President David D. Eisenhower who had narrowly lost to Bartlet in 1998, had been expected to run but ultimatley decided aganist it and endorsed Jim Simon. Alabama Senator and 1998 Vice-presidential nominee Robert Bennett had also been expected to enter the race, but also declined.

In the early days of the campaign for the nomination, the White House, with the exception of President Bartlet and Toby Ziegler, believed the nominee would be Senator Simon. (see Episode 3.12)

Iowa Straw Poll

The 2001 Iowa Staw Poll was held in Ames in August 2001, and was considerd a crucial part of the primary process. Simon was the heavy favorite going into Ames. However, Ritchie, Wesley, and Moseley had made strong efforts to place in the straw poll.

Simon won the straw poll as expected but Ritchie pulled a great media upset in coming in second and as a result raised more than $3,000,000 in just five days after the straw poll.

Wesley also raised large amounts of money as a result of his suprise third place finish.

Moseley and O'Rourke were damaged by the results and Moseley withdrew from the race a week after the straw poll.

2001 Iowa Straw Poll Results

Candidate Votes %
Jim Simon 6,242 31.2
Rob Ritchie 4,983 24.9
John Wesley 3,546 15.2
Jack Moseley 2109 10.5
Bill Daniel 1623 8.1
Dan Kalmbach 926 4.6
Robert O'Rourke 707 3.5
Pete Ross 108 0.5
Howard Westen 101 0.5
Jack Stephens 71 0.4
Total 20,415 100.0%

The Primaries

Ritchie now became the leading alternative to Simon. Ritchie spent a great deal of time in Iowa hoping to beat Simon there and gain traction.

Simon was now working build a base of support in South Carolina and New Hampshire to give national credibility.

John Wesley was hoping to use his good straw poll showing to win support in the South.

Republican Presidential Primary Elections
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