“This administration doesn't even need an opposition party, we do fine ourselves.”

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1990 Presidential election. (Discuss)

Toby Ziegler

1986Flag of the United States.svg1994
Owen Taggart Carson Pike
Republican Party Democratic Party
Minnesota Minnesota
James Tufts Logan Wells
401 137
states carried
36 13 + D.C.
48,495,798 43,086,587
52.9% 47.1%
D. Wire Newman (D) | n/a (R) ☞

The United States Presidential Election of 1990 saw incumbent Democratic President D. Wire Newman deciding not to run for a third term. Republican nominee Owen Taggart defeated Carson Pike of the Democratic Party.



Carson Pike
CEO And President of Pike Organization
Howard Stackhouse
Senator from Minnesota
Lewis D. Eisenhower
Congressman from Ohio
Rafe Framhagen
Senator from Florida
John Slydell
Congressman from Nebraska
Mackland MacAllum
Senator from Virginia
Ben Phillips
Congressman from North Dakota

During 1989, Former California Governor Owen Lassiter was the odds-on favorite to win the nomination after nearly beating Joseph Furman just four years earlier. Many in the party where un-happy with Lassiter who they believed caused Furman’s defeat in 1986. Lassiter entered the race later than many others not formally announcing his candidacy until Tuesday November 6th, one year from Election Day. He had a lot of catching up to do, as Congressman Lewis David Eisenhower, had made a lot of early running, along with Florida Senator Rafe Framhagen both of whom had built up formidable state campaigns in Iowa and New Hampshire. The other candidates where given little hope, of beating the big three, they where John Slydell, Congressman from Nebraska, Mackland MacAllum, Senator from Virginia, and Congressman Ben Phillips, from North Dakota.

Eisenhower won the Iowa caucus on Monday February12th, with Lassiter second and Framhagen close behind in third. In New Hampshire eight days later, Lassiter won with Eisenhower second and Framhagen again in third. A day after this result Joseph Furman endorsed his rival from four years before at a rally in Dallas, Texas. This gave the Lassiter campaign the boost it needed, and won big victories in the South. Framhagen managed to win his own state of Florida and New Mexico, before dropping and endorsing Lassiter on Tuesday March 27th. Eisenhower battled on winning six more states including his own of Ohio before conceding the nomination on Saturday May 19th.

Going into the convention, in July, Lassiter had yet to choose a running-mate. It was believed at the time that Lassiter wanted Furman in the number two slot, but this turned out to be a false rumour. Lassiter had a five man short-list, Georgia Governor Caleb Burgess, Alabama Senator Robert Bennett, Kentucky Senator George Fuller, John Slydell Congressman from Nebraska, and Lewis David Eisenhower. It has come to light recently that Burgess was offered the job but he had issues over some of Lassiter’s economic policies and turned it down. A day later Eisenhower was offered it and he accepted it. Burgess agreed to keep his refusal private for the sake of party unity.


Owen Taggart
Senator from Minnesota
Peter Hamlinn
Former Governor of Florida

By the summer of 1989, President Newman’s approval ratings were just 28%. In August Newman reshuffled his cabinet and give a televised address to the nation widely dubbed the "Darkness before dawn" speech. While the speech caused a brief upswing in the president's approval rating, the decision to dismiss several cabinet members was widely seen as a rash act of desperation, and was dubbed as “The Night of the Long Knives”. Some Democrats felt it worth the risk to mount a challenge to Newman in the primaries. Although two of the candidates he had beaten four years before, Mike Schafford and Martin Dale decided not to run again, Senator Howard Stackhouse who had made a token run in 1986 decided to challenge Newman for the nomination. On Wednesday October 4th Stackhouse announced his run. He was joined a two weeks later by Peter Hamlinn, by now the Former Governor of Florida.

Those around Newman came up with the idea of a regional primary based mostly in the southern states in an effort to give him a strong chance of winning. Stackhouse and Hamlinn opposed the plan, but failed to change it. By this point Stackhouse had won the New Hampshire primary in a massive upset. On Tuesday March 6th twelve states went to the polls and “Super Tuesday” was born. As planned Newman carried eight of the states, but Stackhouse won California, New York, whilst Hamlinn beat Newman in Florida, and only narrowly lost in Georgia and Kentucky.

By the time of the later primaries, Hamlinn who had dropped out in May refused to endorse Newman, and Stackhouse won narrow wins in New Jersey and Connecticut to take the race to the convention. Stackhouse attempted to get delegates released from their voting commitments and called for an “open convention”, but he failed. Newman and Pierce where re-nominated on the first ballot, but it was unruly affair which did not go over well on Television.


After Lassiter secured the Republican nomination in the early summer, polls showed him narrowly ahead of Newman by an average of two points. After the conventions Lassiter had extended that lead to around seven points. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in early August, and Newman’s calm and impressive handling of the situation impressed many and helped to rally support for the president. Lassiter supported “Operation Desert Shield” although he did attack the amount of money the administration had paid to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in the name of regional security. The Newman campaign emphasized its foreign policy successes such as “Desert Shield” and the building of a multi-national collation, and the ending of the Cold War. However, as the economy was the main issue, Newman’s campaign floundered across the nation, even in strongly Democratic areas, and Lassiter was again ahead by an average of four to five points.Newman got criticism by many from his own party by flying to Berlin in mid-September to tour the now unified City where he received a hero’s reception but as one Democratic insider said “Berliners don’t vote for the President of the United States”.Two debates where held between Newman and Lassiter and one between Pierce and Eisenhower. The first took place on Sunday September 23rd, and Newman did well and most people saw him as the narrow winner. The vice-presidential debate two weeks later saw Eisenhower give a barnstorming performance and he himself later said “I surprised even myself”. The second debate between Newman and Lassiter on Thursday October 18th saw a much improved performance from Lassiter, although it was later discovered Newman had been suffering from a heavy cold, and many of his advisers had wanted him to cancel, but he refused. The turning point came when Forrest Sawyer asked Newman to name a Domestic policy success in his first term, he stumbled the question and changed the answer to Foreign policy to which Lassiter interrupted “Mr. President you can’t answer the question, because you haven’t had any success”.Tom Brokaw of NBC reported a day later "The consensus is that Governor Owen Lassiter clearly won last night's debate and made it all the harder for the President to catch and pass him in the 18 days remaining."The final days of the campaign saw Newman throwing everything he could at Lassiter, but Lassiter remained clearly ahead.


The election on November 6th saw Owen Lassiter elected the 42nd President of the United States. NBC News projected Lassiter as the winner at 9:15 pm EST, before voting was finished in the West, based on exit polls. Newman conceded defeat at 11:50 pm EST. Lassiter won a majority in the popular vote of 5.84% and a lopsided majority of 36 states in the Electoral College and a total of 401 votes to Newman’s 13 states and DC a total of 137 votes. He carried the entire south apart from Newman’s home state of Alabama and the mid-west. Newman held onto two of three Pacific Coast states of Washington, Oregon he had carried four years before, and only lost California by a margin of 4.3%.


Vermont was the only state that Newman won in this election that he had lost four years before. This was the first time Vermont had voted for a Democrat since 1964. · Newman became with this defeat a second successive one term Democratic President. · This was the last time a Democrat won Alabama in the General election.

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