United States presidential election, 1998

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November 3, 1998
  Josiah Bartlet
Nominee Josiah Bartlet ??? Other
Party Democratic Republican Third Parties
Home state New Hampshire ???
Running mate John Hoynes ???
Electoral vote 303 235 0
States carried 23 27 0
Popular vote 48,000,000 47,000,000 5,000,000
Percentage 48% 47% 5%

1998 Election

Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by the Republican ticket, Blue denotes those won by the Democratic ticket (Bartlet/Hoynes). Each number represents the electoral votes a state gave to one candidate.

Previous President
Republican Party

The United States presidential election of 1998 occurred in November of that year, and saw the election of Governor Josiah Bartlet (D-NH) as President of the United States. Bartlet succeeded a Republican president (In the Room).

Democratic NominationEdit

The following politicians declared themselves candidates for the election:

In the Fall of 1997, it appeared almost certain that Senator John Hoynes would easily become the Democratic nominee for President (Bartlet for America). In fact, a poll taken in late October showed him leading by 48 points over any of his other challengers. However, after Hoynes won in the Iowa Caucus as expected, with Wiley finishing in second and Bartlet finishing a surprising third, Bartlet won an easy victory in New Hampshire, his home state.

The race then turned to South Carolina where Josiah Bartlet astonished many people throughout the country when he finished in second place behind Hoynes and ahead of Wiley. Wiley then dropped out, but it is not clear whether he endorsed Bartlet or Hoynes at this point. However, according to Bartlet's campaign manager Leo McGarry, they "got his money".  Leading up to Super Tuesday, Bartlet carried Michigan, while Hoynes took South Dakota. 

On Super Tuesday, Hoynes swept through the South as expected and Bartlet took the Northern tier states as well as the Pacific Northwest.  Sen. Hoynes took Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia.  Gov. Bartlet took Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin.   

The next week, Bartlet won a pivotal victory in the Illinois primary, giving him momentum to wrap up the nomination in the following weeks with wins in California and New York.  Bartlet secured enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party once California was called for the former governor.

Although Bartlet's campaign manager was Leo McGarry, both Hoynes and his former adviser Josh Lyman later agreed that the turning point in the '98 race was when Lyman defected from the Hoynes camp and joined the Bartlet campaign.

Sen. John Hoynes' primary victories:

  • Iowa
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Super Tuesday: Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and West Virginia
  • Texas

Gov. Josiah "Jed" Bartlet's primary victories:

  • New Hampshire
  • Michigan
  • Super Tuesday: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Wisconsin
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • California, Bartlet secures the nomination.

General electionEdit

The election was described as "too close to call" for most of the campaign. Josiah Bartlet won a narrow victory with only 48% of the vote (translating to 48 million popular votes), but 303 electoral votes. Surprisingly The Bartlet/Hoynes ticket lost usually solid democratic strongholds and more surprisingly Maine as this was Bartlet's neighboring state. 

Bartlet's Republican opponent has never been named, although a vague reference to "running against Eisenhower" was made in the episode "The Wedding", where Leo and Josh discuss election campaigns.  According to Sam Seaborn their opponent "had a record conservatives couldn't complain about" (Debate Camp). It is stated by Leo that Bartlet had no mandate, as a majority "voted for somebody else", and Charlie Young mentions that Bartlet received a plurality, meaning third party candidates must have drawn a sizable share of the vote. ("Let Bartlet Be Bartlet")


There were three Presidential debates, the final one being held on October 30, 1998 in St. Louis, Missouri in a 550-person auditorium. Just prior to the debate, Governor Bartlet experienced an attack brought on by his Multiple Sclerosis that his doctors identified as an inner ear infection. ("Bartlet for America")


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