'68: Candidates

Candidates

After a huge defeat in 1964 presidential election, the Republicans regrouped. There were still bitter divisions between conservatives and moderates that shaped the selection of candidates in the 1968 Nebraska “All Star“ primary.

Richard Nixon

In December 1967, Richard Nixon unofficially announced he would return to presidential politics during a visit to Nebraska. He won the state’s 1968 “All Star Primary” with 70% of the Republican vote.

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Nelson Rockfeller

The millionaire governor of New York found it tough to get support in the Midwest. As a liberal Republican, he argued supporting business and a strong role for government could overtake problems like poverty and racism in America. His campaign ended after his poor showing in the Nebraska primary.

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Ronald Reagan

The first term governor of California had his first show of strength as a presidential candidate in Nebraska in 1968, with a strong appeal to the conservative wing of the party. Using only TV ads and direct mail, Reagan won 21% of the vote in the primary without campaigning in the state for a single day.

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Harold Stassen

The Nebraska primary in 1968 marked his fourth of nine unsuccessful campaigns for President as a Republican. Considered a liberal, the decorated World War II navel officer took a strong stand against the Vietnam War. Visiting the state repeatedly, Stassan never became more than a historical novelty.

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President Johnson stunned the nation by not seeking another term.

With the race wide open, rivals for the Democratic Party’s nomination set their sites on the convention delegates from the conservative state of Nebraska.


Robert Kennedy

The senator from New York ran a well-financed, all-out campaign in Nebraska with rallies that attracted tens of thousands of supporters. Winning 51.5% of the vote in the primary was a significant victory on the national scene.

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Eugene McCarthy

His anti-war campaign found early support among young and intellectual voters. In the Midwest, he added a strong pitch to help struggling farmers, emphasizing his rural Minnesota upbringing. Arriving in Nebraska, the campaign struggled against the more charismatic Kennedy.

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Hubert Humphrey

Entering the presidential race just days before the Nebraska primary, the Vice President became a “non-candidate," hoping to attract write-in votes. He balanced running as an incumbent while keeping his distance from the unpopular President Johnson.

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By forming his own political party, the controversial former Governor of Alabama George Wallace pulled together conservatives from both parties.  This video clip covers the opening of his campaign headquarters in Omaha.


George Wallace

His speeches promoted a powerful mix of anti-government philosophy and promotion of segregation of the races.

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