The 1968 Presidential Election: Hubert H. Humphrey and George Wallace

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

As Lyndon B. Johnson’s first complete term wrapped up, LBJ decided not to run for reelection in 1968. LBJ started out popular; however, by the end of his presidency, he was unpopular because of the Vietnam War. 1968 caused the Republicans and Democrats to scramble and find their nominees in order to control the Oval Office.

For the Democrats, four individuals submitted their names for the Democratic nomination: Senator Eugene J. McCarthy of Minnesota, Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, and then Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota. Suddenly on June 6, 1968, Robert Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan at the Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel. The Democratic race was narrowed down to McCarthy and Humphrey; moreover, Humphrey won the Democratic nomination in Chicago.


HHH: Hubert Humphrey’s 1968 Button:

Hubert Humphrey was born on May 27, 1911 in Wallace, South Dakota. His father was a local pharmacist and he began to follow in his father’s footsteps. He attended and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1939; moreover, he attended graduate school at Louisiana State University. Humphrey returned to Minneapolis and was politically active: he unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Minneapolis in 1943 but served as mayor from 1945 to 1948, campaign manager for FDR in Minnesota in 1944, U.S. Senator for Minnesota from 1948 to 1964 and 1971 to 1978, vice-president to Lyndon Johnson from 1965 to 1969. Humphrey passed away on January 13, 1978, at 66 in Waverly, Minnesota.

As the Democrats and Republicans began the race to the White House, there was a new third-party on the scene: American Independent Party. Former Democrat governor of Alabama, George Wallace, was interested in running; however, the Democrats had Hubert Humphrey. The party decided to nominate George Wallace: he accepted.


“Stand Up For America” – George Wallace’s 1968 Button:

George Wallace was born on August 25, 1919 in Cilo, Alabama. Born poor, Wallace excelled and attended law school at the University of Alabama. Wallace served multiple political positions: assistant state’s attorney in 1946, judge of the Third Judicial Circuit of Alabama in 1953 to 1959, and served as governor of Alabama from 1963 to 1967, 1971 to 1979, and 1983 to 1987 as a Democrat. During his tenure as governor, he was well-known for his pro-segregation views. He campaigned for a presidential nomination in 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1976. While he was campaigning in 1972, he was shot; however, he was paralyzed from the waist down permanently. In 1987, Wallace retired from politics due to his health. On September 13, 1998, Wallace passed away at 79 in Montgomery, Alabama.

The 1968 Presidential election featured Republican nominee, Richard Nixon of California, Democratic nominee, Hubert H. Humphrey, and American Independent Party nominee, George Wallace. Nixon won 301 electoral votes in comparison to Humphrey and Wallace’s votes, 191 and 46, respectfully. This was the most current election in which a third party candidates won states and their electoral votes. Wallace had won Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana and close to 10 million popular votes.


The Name is Goldwater …. Barry Goldwater

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

In politics, some candidates win their respective office and their opponents face the ugly face of defeat. Some could argue when a presidential nominee loses, they become a forgotten name among a long list of individuals who’ve tried to win the prestigious title of President of the United States. Over the next few weeks, we’re discussing those who ran for President but lost in the general election.

Picture it! The United States, 1964. Democratic nominee and incumbent, Lyndon B. Johnson (known as LBJ) of Texas, defeats Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater of Arizona. LBJ won 486 electoral votes compared to Goldwater’s 52 electoral votes. LBJ won the popular vote by more than 15 million votes. But, how to Barry Goldwater get to the pinnacle of American politics? Let’s take a scroll down memory lane.


Goldwater-Miller campaign button, 1964:

Goldwater was born on January 1, 1909 in Phoenix, Arizona. His family had a local department store, Goldwater’s and he was the president from 1937 to 1953. He agreed with society integration in businesses and the National Guard; moreover, he personally believed whites and African-Americans should be treated equally. On the other hand, he seemed to present it differently in politics. He disagreed with the federal government getting involved with issues of civil rights. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was voted on, Goldwater voted against the bill.

His first taste of politics was when he was elected as a city councilman in Phoenix in 1949. In 1952, he was elected to serve as a Senator for Arizona and was reelected in 1958. During this time, Goldwater called for a stricter position with the Soviet Union by opposed negotiations on arms-control and accused Democrats of trying to make the United States in socialist nation.

As the 1964 Republican nomination was up for grabs, Goldwater’s main opponent was Nelson Rockefeller. Their main opposing views were on civil rights: Rockefeller was for the Civil Rights Act and Goldwater opposed it. Goldwater’s platform appealed to Republicans in the United States; moreover, by the time the Republican National Convention started, Goldwater won the nomination. He selected New York representative, William Miller, to be his vice-president.

LBJ and Goldwater debated on civil rights, foreign policies in Vietnam, and use of nuclear weaponry. Goldwater believed the United States should use atomic bombs in Vietnam. LBJ responded back with his “Daisy” ad, showing a young girl in a field of flowers counting down with the audience hearing a nuclear countdown and an explosion. The response was overwhelming and caused many voters to view Goldwater as an extreme conservative to become President of the United States.

In the end, LBJ defeated Goldwater tremendously. Goldwater only carried six states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. He would return to the United States. In 1968, Goldwater returned to the US Senate, representing Arizona, until his retirement in 1987. Barry Goldwater passed away on May 29, 1998, in Paradise Valley, Arizona, at the age of 89.


Politics in Indiana: Governors of Indiana (Part 2)

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

After Robert Orr left office in 1989, the next three governors were Democrats: Evan Bayh (1989-1997), Frank O’Bannon (1997-2003), and Joe Kernan (2003-2005).


Evan Bayh was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1955. He attended Indiana University and graduated in 1978 with his degree in business economics; however, he graduated in 1981 with his law degree from the University of Virginia. Bayh worked as a clerk for the federal appeals court and his private law practice from 1981 to 1986; however, he was elected as Indiana’s Secretary of State in 1986.

In 1989, Bayh was elected the governor of Indiana in 1988 and was reelected in 1992. During his tenure as governor, he created the Department of Workforce Development (providing vocational and technical education, literacy programs, and many more), initiating the Buddy Project and Access Indiana (providing Internet to citizens in schools, libraries, and community centers by 2000), and supervised Indiana’s largest tax cuts and surplus in state history. After he left office, he was elected as Indiana Senator in 1998 and 2004.

Frank O’Bannon grew up in Corydon, Indiana. He graduated from Corydon High School in 1948. O’Bannon attended Indiana University and graduated in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in government. Afterwards, he would serve in the United State Air Force for two years; however, he would return to Indiana University and gained a law degree in 1957.  O’Bannon served as a state senator from 1970 to 1989 and served as Evan Bayh’s lieutenant governor from 1989 to 1997. O’Bannon finally got his chance as governor in 1997, as he was elected as the next governor of Indiana.

During his tenure as governor, he created multiple programs in Indiana. The first was Hoosier Healthwise: a program that provided healthcare to children who do not have health insurance. The second was joining the Education Roundtable: this created new standards and accountability system for Indiana public schools. O’Bannon restructured Indiana’s tax system providing many benefits: property tax relief, job creation, and method of assessing property. He was known during his tenure for thinking about children. At his 1997 and 2001 inaugurations, O’Bannon invited fourth grade students from around Indiana to watch him be sworn in as governor at Indiana Statehouse in 1997 and the RCA Dome in 2001. Sadly, O’Bannon passed away due to a stroke at an international trade conference in Chicago, Illinois on September 8, 2003. His lieutenant governor, Joe Kernan, was sworn into office as the next governor.


Politics in Indiana: Governors of Indiana (Part 1)

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Since Indiana became a state in 1816, there have been fifty governors; however, there has been only forty-eight men have held the position. Only two men have held the position twice but non-consecutive terms: Isaac Gray (1880-1881; 1885-1889) and Henry Schricker (1941-1945; 1949-1953).

From 1969 to 1989, Indiana was controlled by the Republicans by the following:

Edgar Whitcomb (1969-1973)

Otis Bowen (1973-1981)

Robert Orr (1981-1989)


Edgar Whitcomb was born in Hayden, Indiana, located in Jennings County. He attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana; however, he served in World War 2 in the Philippines. He returned to Indiana University and received a law degree. He practiced law for fourteen years in North Vernon, Indianapolis, and Seymour, Indiana. He ran for Congress in 1954 and 1956; however, he was elected as Indiana’s Secretary of State in 1966 and then as Governor of Indiana in 1968. Whitcomb defeated Robert L. Rock, 53% to 47% in the 1968 election. After he left office in 1973 and continued his law practice in Indianapolis and served as the director of the Mid-American World Trade Association; however, he attempted to win the Republican nomination for United States Senator but was defeated by Richard Lugar.


Governor Edgar D. Whitcomb

After Whitcomb left office in 1973, Otis Bowen became the next governor. Bowen was born Richland Center, Indiana, located in Fulton County. He attended Indiana University and graduated with his M.D. He served in World War 2 in the army medical corps; however, after he left the service, he began his own practice. Bowen served as a state representative in 1956 and became the first state Speaker of the House to serve three conservative terms (1967-1971). In 1968, he ran for as the Republican nominee for Indiana Governor; however, he lost to Edgar Whitcomb, who soon became the governor. Bowen would become governor in 1972, defeating Matthew Welsh, 57% to 43%. He would also become Indiana’s first governor to serve conservative terms since 1851, due to the passage of Indiana’s constitution. In the 1976 election, Bowen defeated Larry Conrad, 57% to 43%. After he left office, he became a professor of medicine and director of undergraduate family practice education at Indiana University. From 1985 to 1989, he served as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources under then-president, Ronald Reagan.


Governor Otis Bowen & Lt. Governor Robert Orr


Robert Orr was born in Evansville, Indiana, located in Vanderburgh County. He graduated from Yale University in 1940 and later attended Harvard Graduate School of Business; however, World War 2 occurred just before he started at Harvard and served in the United States Army in the Pacific. In 1968, he was elected to serve in the Indiana Senate. In 1972, he served under Otis Bowen as his lieutenant governor until he was elected as Indiana’s governor in 1980, by defeating John Hillenbrand, 58% to 42%. Orr was re-elected as governor of Indiana in 1984, by defeating Wayne Townsend 53% to 47%. He served on many committees and served as the Ambassador of Singapore in 1989 to 1992.


Governor Robert Orr & Lt. Governor John Mutz



Politics in Indiana Series: 1992 Presidential Election

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

In the 1992 Presidential Election, things are different unlike previous years: there was a visible third party on stage during the presidential debates. The nominees were:

Incumbent President and Republican candidate: George W. Bush (TX) & Dan Quayle (IN)


Left to Right: George H. W. Bush & Dan Quayle

Democratic candidate: Bill Clinton (AR) & Al Gore (TN)


Left to Right: Bill Clinton & Al Gore

Independent candidate: Ross Perot (TX) & James Stockdale (IL)


Center: Ross Perot

Bush was running for reelection; however, campaign promises (i.e. – no tax increases and maintaining the budget deficit) from 1988 were unfilled and led to some supporters distrusting Bush.  His main opponent for the nomination was Pat Buchanan; however, Bush defeated Buchanan in the primary.

On the Democratic side, there were multiple individuals running: Tom Harkin (IA), Jerry Brown (CA), Paul Tsongas (MA), and Bill Clinton (AR). Right before the New Hampshire primary, Clinton had a scandal hit the press: an “alleged” twelve year affair with Gennifer Flowers. Clinton confessed there were marital issues; yet, this did not stop Clinton from regaining popularity. Towards the end, Clinton won a large majority of states during the Super Tuesday primaries. By June 1992, he gained enough delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination.

According the Commission of Presidential Debates, “… candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination”.

Similar standards were in place during the 1992 Presidential Election. In February 1992. Perot announced he would run for president on Larry King Live, if his supporters petitioned his name to be on the ballot in all 50 states. He became extremely popular: Ross Perot exceed the requirement and at one time, led in the polls with 40% of the vote.


The 1992 Presidential Candidates (Bottom to Top): Bottom: George H.W. Bush & Dan Quayle: Middle: Bill Clinton & Al Gore: Top: Ross Perot:

The results of the 1992 presidential election was:

  • Bill Clinton & Al Gore: 370 Electoral Votes (44 Million Popular Votes / 43%)
  • George H.W. Bush & Dan Quayle: 168 Electoral Votes (39 Million Popular Votes / 37%)
  • Ross Perot:0 Electoral Votes (19 Million Popular Votes / 19%


“The Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview.” The Commission on Presidential Debates: An Overview. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Levy, Michael. United States presidential election of 1992. 2016, Accessed 29 Sep. 2016.