The Center Holds: 1984 to 1992

  • Dante J. Scala


Jimmy Carter’s defeat of Ted Kennedy in 1980 was the last New Hampshire Democratic primary to feature an incumbent for sixteen years. Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush occupied the Oval Office from 1980 to 1992, leaving Democrats to conduct the equivalent of open auditions for their presidential nomination. In such an uncertain environment, one might have expected the unexpected in the New Hampshire primary—and those expectations were fulfilled. In 1984, Colorado senator Gary Hart revived the Granite State’s reputation as a giant-killer, handing former vice president Walter Mondale a lopsided defeat. And in 1992, an obscure former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, carried the primary and became Bill Clinton’s most unlikely challenger for the nomination.


Vice President State Party Presidential Nomination National Campaign Democratic Nomination 
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    Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Wake Us When Its Over (New York: Macmillan, 1985), pp. 36–48, 58.Google Scholar
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    Susan Berry Casey, Hart and Soul (Concord, N.H.: NHI Press, 1986), p. 50.Google Scholar
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© Dante J. Scala 2003

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  • Dante J. Scala

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