Richard Nixon entered the Republican convention as the front runner. He won the nomination on the first ballot. In his acceptance speech he stated:" When the strongest nation in the world can be tied down for four years in a war in Vietnam with no end in sight, when the richest nation in the world cannot manage its economy, when the nation with the greatest tradition of the rule of law is plagued by unprecedented racial violence, when the President of the United States cannot travel abroad, or to any major city at home, then itäs time for new leadership for the United States."
The Democrats went through a grueling primary campaign. Eugene McCarthy, an early opponent of the war in Vietnam, almost upset President Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. This convinced Johnson not to run for re-election. At that point Vice President Humphrey announced his candidacy for the nomination. A primary battle followed, with Robert Kennedy pulling in the lead until his assassination. With Kennedy gone, Humphrey was able to sew up the nomination. He was nominated on the first ballot at a tumultuous convention in Chicago. The rioting and the police actions outside the convention hall dominated the news coverage and did not get the Humphrey campaign off to a good start.
Nixon began the campaign as the front runner, with a clear lead. He campaigned against rising crime and claimed he would restore "law and order". Nixon also instituted the Southern policy, taking advantage of Southern voters resentments at civil rights legislation passed by the Johnson administration he successfully received support from what had been a solidly Democratic south. Toward the end of the campaign as Humphrey became more critical of Johnson's handling of the war, the lead narrowed. It did not narrow enough to stop a Nixon victory however.
Participation of Eligible Voters: 60.6%