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Republican Party presidential primaries, 1948


Republican Party presidential primaries, 1948

Republican Presidential Primaries, 1948

March 9 to June 1, 1948

Nominee Thomas Dewey Harold Stassen Robert A. Taft
Party Republican Republican Republican
Home state New York Minnesota Ohio
States carried 2 4 1
Popular vote 330,799 627,321 464,741
Percentage 11.58% 21.96% 16.27%

Candidate Earl Warren Riley A. Bender Douglas MacArthur
Party Republican Republican Republican
Home state California Illinois Wisconsin
States carried 1 1 0
Popular vote 771,295 324,029 87,839
Percentage 26.99% 11.34% 3.07%

Candidate Leverett Saltonstall Herbert E. Hitchcock
Party Republican Republican
Home state Massachusetts South Dakota
States carried 1 1
Popular vote 72,191 45,463
Percentage 2.53% 1.59%

Results map by state.

The 1948 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1948 U.S. presidential election. The nominee was selected through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1948 Republican National Convention held from June 21 to June 25, 1948 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Both major parties courted general Dwight Eisenhower, the most popular general of World War II. Eisenhower's political views were unknown in 1948. He was, later events would prove, a moderate Republican, but in 1948 he flatly refused the nomination of any political party.

With Eisenhower refusing to run, the contest for the Republican nomination was between New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, General Douglas MacArthur, Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft and California Governor Earl Warren. Governor Dewey, who had been the Republican nominee in 1944, was regarded as the frontrunner when the primaries began. Dewey was the acknowledged leader of the GOP's powerful eastern establishment; in 1946 he had been re-elected Governor of New York by the largest margin in state history. Dewey's handicap was that many Republicans disliked him; he often struck observers as cold, stiff and condescending. Senator Taft was the leader of the GOP's conservative wing. He opened his campaign in 1947 by attacking the Democratic Party's domestic policy and foreign policy. In foreign policy, Taft was an non-interventionist who opposed many of the alliances the U.S. government had made with other nations to fight the Cold War with the Soviet Union; he believed that the nation should concentrate on its own problems and avoid "imperial entanglements". On domestic issues, Taft and his fellow conservatives wanted to abolish many of the New Deal social welfare programs that had been created in the 1930s; they regarded these programs as too expensive and harmful to business interests. Taft had two major weaknesses: he was seen as a plodding, dull campaigner, and he was viewed by most party leaders as being too conservative and controversial to win a presidential election. Taft's support was limited to his native Midwestern United States and parts of the Southern United States.

The "surprise" candidate of 1948 was Stassen, the former "boy wonder" of Minnesota politics. Stassen had been elected governor of Minnesota at the age of 31; he resigned as governor in 1943 and served in the Communist Party in the United States. Stassen, despite his liberal reputation, argued in favor of outlawing the party, while Dewey forcefully argued against it; at one point he famously stated that "you can't shoot an idea with a gun". Most observers rated Dewey as the winner of the debate, and a few days later Dewey defeated Stassen in Oregon. From this point forward, the New York governor had the momentum he needed to win his party's second nomination.


  • Republican candidates 1
    • Nominee 1.1
    • Withdrew during convention 1.2
    • Withdrew during primaries 1.3
    • Declined to run 1.4
  • Statewide contests by winner 2
  • Convention 3
  • References 4

Republican candidates


Withdrew during convention

Withdrew during primaries

Declined to run

Statewide contests by winner

Earl Warren Harold Stassen Robert A. Taft Thomas E. Dewey Riley A. Bender Douglas MacArthur Leverett Saltonstall Herbert E. Hitchcock Edward Martin Arthur H. Vandenberg Joseph W. Martin Unpledged
March 9 New Hampshire - - - - - - - - - - - 100%
April 6 Wisconsin - 39.37% - 25.16% - 33.98% - - - - - -
April 13 Illinois - 0.47% 0.21% 0.29% 96.90% 2.00% - - - - - -
April 13 Nebraska 0.95% 43.54% 11.62% 34.54% - 3.71% - - - 5.16% 0.49% -
April 20 New Jersey 0.16% 34.79% 5.52% 41.38% - 8.00% - - - 5.75% 0.71% -
April 27 Massachusetts - - - - - - 100% - - - - -
April 27 Pennsylvania - 31.47% 5.88% 29.82% - 7.07% - - 17.46% 3.42% - -
May 4 Ohio - 43.21% 56.79% - - - - - - - - -
May 11 West Virginia - 83.17% - - - - - - - - - -
May 21 Oregon - 47.56% - 51.79% - - - - - - - -
June 1 California 100% - - - - - - - - - - -
June 1 South Dakota - - - - - - - 100% - - - -
  • Italics - Write-In Vote

Primaries total popular vote results:[1]


The 1948 Republican National Convention was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was the first presidential convention to be shown on television. As the convention opened, Dewey was seen as having a large lead in the delegate count. His major opponents – Taft, Stassen, and Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg of Michigan – met in Taft's hotel suite to plan a "stop-Dewey" movement. However, a key obstacle soon developed when the three men refused to unite behind a single candidate to oppose Dewey. Instead, all three men simply agreed to try to hold their own delegates in the hopes of preventing Dewey from obtaining a majority. This proved to be futile, as Dewey's efficient campaign team gathered up the delegates they needed to win the nomination. After the second round of balloting, Dewey was only 33 votes short of victory. Taft then called Stassen and urged him to withdraw from the race and endorse him as Dewey's main opponent. When Stassen refused, Taft wrote a concession speech and had it read at the start of the third ballot; Dewey was then nominated by acclamation. Dewey then chose popular Governor Earl Warren of California as his running mate. Following the convention, most political experts in the news media rated the GOP ticket as an almost-certain winner over the Democrats.

The tally:
Ballot 1 2
NY Governor Thomas E. Dewey 434 515
OH Senator Robert A. Taft 224 274
Frm. MN Governor Harold Stassen 157 149
MI Senator and President pro tem Arthur Vandenberg 62 62
CA Governor Earl Warren 59 57
House Speaker Joseph Martin 18 10
General Douglas MacArthur 11 7


  1. ^ Our Campaigns - US President - R Primaries Race - Feb 01, 1948
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