The Ritchie presidential campaign was the 2002 Presidential Campaign for the Republican Party. Its candidate was Governor Robert Ritchie of Florida, and his running mate was Jeff Heston.

Campaign Staff


  • Ending the use of affirmative action with regards to college admission.[1]
  • Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve for new sources of energy.[2]
  • Re-examination of Title IX.[3]
  • Strengthening of the American family[4]
  • Cuts to the federal Department of Education's budget and greater allowance of individual states to set public school curricula."[5]
  • Greater emphasis on states' rights.[6]
  • A large federal tax cut, though to which tax bracket(s) was left unspecified. Ritchie received a great deal of criticism for this policy, as many leading economists believed would actually harm the economy. Ritchie believed it was good to cut taxes for one reason, "the American people know how to spend their money better than the federal government does."
  • Ritchie was opposed to needle-exchange programs, stating that "we ought to begin and end with abstinence and personal personsibility", and he vowed to "fight for a national law to end" such programs[7]

Primary Election

The campaign season began with Ritchie winning the Iowa Caucus, surprising the "Bartlet for America" campaign staff.[8]

After the Iowa Caucus, the Bartlet for America staff was preparing for Ritchie to be nominated, even though he faced tough competition against Kalmbach, Daniel and Wesley.[9]

After President made a remark about Ritchie's lack of intelligence[10], the campaign asked for the President to sign a pledge to only hold a positive, issue-oriented campaign.[11]

General Election

After receiving the official nomination, Jeff Heston was chosen to be the Vice Presidential candidate by the Republican Party.[12]

After Sam Seaborn received an attack ad against the President, citing him for not signing their Clean Campaign Pledge, and alluding to the MS Scandal, he contacted Kevin Kahn of the Ritchie campaign and told them they had a mole. The campaign released the ad to the press, and officially stated that they had no part in releasing the political ad.[13] They gained free media time from this release and vengeance for the President's remark.[14]

After Ritchie was invited to a production of "Wars of the Roses," also attended by President Bartlet, the campaign used the media to report on the possibility of a meeting between the two candidates. They made it seem like the President was planning to tax sugar farmers, a leading group of Ritchie's base.[15]

Polls on September 23, 2002, had Ritchie trailing Bartlet by one to seven points.[16]

When debates were being decided, the Ritchie campaign asked for two debates, and would not go higher than that, though Bartlet wanted as many as five. During negotiations, Ritchie's team lowered their request and the two sides eventually settled on just one debate.[17]

The debate that occurred on October 23, 2002, was an unprecedented disaster, with President Bartlet winning on every question.[18]

The campaign suffered a miserable defeat, gaining only 42,992,342 votes out of 96,758,563 voters (44.4% of the popular vote), and 119 out of 538 electoral votes.[19]

Ritchie won only 11 states with President Bartlet achieving a 39-state landslide.  However, Bartlet's electoral victory did not translate into Democrats gaining majorities in either the House or the Senate.  Because of this, Bartlet's landslide victory was labeled "The Lonely Landslide."


  1. "Governor Ritchie came out this morning in support of the Pennsylvania Referendum banning affirmative action, with regards to college admissions." from The Two Bartlets
  2. "He says that we should be exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for new sources of energy." from The U.S. Poet Laureate
  3. "Ritchie mentioned yesterday it was worth reexamining." from College Kids
  4. "Governor Ritchie contends there's a crisis in the American family that parents aren't spending enough time with their kids." from Debate Camp
  5. "we don't need a Federal Department of Education telling us our children have to learn Esperanto, they have to learn Eskimo poetry." from Game On
  6. "Let the states decide. Let the communities decide on health care, on education, on lower taxes, not higher taxes. Now, he's going to throw a big word at you-- 'unfunded mandate.'" from Game On
  7. From the debate in Game On
  8. "It's gonna be Ritchie." from The Two Bartlets
  9. "Why? They got some serious guys in the field. Kalmbach, Daniel, Wesley?" from Hartsfield's Landing
  10. "I think we might be talking about a .22 caliber mind in a .357 magnum world." from The U.S. Poet Laureate
  11. "The Ritchie camp is also challenging the President to sign a pledge basically a promise to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign." from The U.S. Poet Laureate
  12. "Is the Republican nominee Rob Ritchie? Yes. Is his running mate Jeff Heston? Yes." from The Black Vera Wang
  13. "The Ritchie campaign reports that it did not have any involvement in the production of the ad and it has no idea how the Bartlet camp might have obtained it." from The Black Vera Wang
  14. "It's on free media... everywhere, all day, all night, for free. You got played, Sam, and you forgot that all warfare is based on deception." from The Black Vera Wang; Bruno is quoting Sun Tzu's Art of War.
  15. "A.P. called with a quote from Kevin Kahn. 'Governor Ritchie is looking forward to meeting with the President tonight so he could talk about the Federal Government's plan for the Everglades, which would tax sugar farmers into unemployment.' from Posse Comitatus
  16. "ABC/Washington Post, Bartlet 50, Ritchie 44. CBS/ New York Times, Bartlet 50, Ritchie 43. NBC/ Wall Street Journal, Bartlet 49, Ritchie 43. CNN/USA Today/Gallup, Bartlet 46, Ritchie 45." from 20 Hours in America, Part I
  17. "Governor Ritchie's asked for two. The President said, 'How about four?' Governor Ritchie said, 'How about two?'" from The Red Mass
  18. "It's over." from Game On
  19. Election results from Election Night.
Bartlet/Hoynes (D) | Ritchie/Heston (R) | Stackhouse (I)
Bartlet | Buckland | Russell
Daniel | Kalmbach | Mosley | O'Rourke | Ritchie | Ross | Simon | Weston

Republican Party Presidential Campaigns
Vinick/Sullivan Moving America Forward
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