|☜ 1998 • • 2006 ☞|
5 NOVEMBER 2002
|Josiah Bartlet||Robert Ritchie|
|Democratic Party||Republican Party|
|John Hoynes||Jeff Heston|
|Presidential election results map.|
Red denotes states won by Ritchie/Heston, Blue denotes those won by Bartlet/Hoynes. Each number represents the electoral votes a state gave to one candidate.
|☜ Josiah Bartlet (D) | Matthew Santos (D) ☞|
The 2002 United States Presidential Election took place on that year's 5th of November. It was a contest between President Josiah Bartlet and Florida Governor Robert Ritchie. Bartlet beat Ritchie in a 39-state landslide after a commanding performance in the 2002 United States Presidential Debate.
Main Article: Democratic Presidential Primary Election (2002)
For the Iowa caucuses, President Bartlet stated that there were six Republican candidates; three governors, two senators and "the head of the church of 'I Hate You'" (presumably meaning a candidate who was a far-right reverend, perhaps Reverend Don Butler).
A politician named Simon was believed to be the favourite at the start of the primary campaign. Other candidates included Senate Majority Leader Jack Moseley, although his campaign likely faltered when he gave a very poor answer to the question "why do you want to be president?" His answer led to the jubilation of CJ and other senior staffers. But it was two-term Governor Robert Ritchie of Florida, believed to be an outsider at the start of the race, who came through and won the nomination.Helped by a shock win in the Iowa caucus, and as other candidates dropped out, Ritchie had the race won just after Super Tuesday. Ritchie picked Jeff Heston as his running mate.
Minnesota Senator Howard Stackhouse ran as a third-party candidate, however he convinced congressional leaders that he'd drop out of the race and endorse President Bartlet before the first debate. In a poll of likely voters, Stackhouse polled at about 4% in New York and California, and was only on the ballot in 25 other states. As promised, the morning after Red Mass he dropped out and endorsed President Bartlet.
The General Election was initially seen as a tossup, as the MS scandal had weakened Bartlet's approval rating. Bartlet was percieved by many as vulnerable and susceptible to defeat. However, he gave a strong performance at the Presidential Debate, which caused him to rebound in the polls. Bartlet easily defeated Ritchie on election night.