3 super-close presidential elections: Beyond Bush v. Gore - KOTA Territory News

3 super-close presidential elections

Updated:
President George W. Bush ©WhiteHouse.gov President George W. Bush ©WhiteHouse.gov

By Elisa D. Keller

(WORLDNOW) – Come election night, most Americans hope for a clear-cut presidential winner – somebody definitively ushered into office by an enthusiastic majority of voters.

But for politicians and the general public alike, there is always one nightmare scenario hovering in the back of their minds. What if the voting tally is so close that Americans will have to wait days, weeks or even months to find out which candidate won? And, even worse, what if the numbers tell you both people won?  

Thanks to the variances between the Electoral College and popular vote count, it's a distinct – if rare – possibility. A candidate can receive more votes nation-wide (the popular vote), but if he doesn't win enough states to carry the Electoral College he won't win the election.

Here are three of the closest results in presidential elections.  


1876: Rutherford B. Hayes v. Samuel Tilden

One of the most hotly contested elections in American history, Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote by nearly 250,000 votes, and was leading Republican Rutherford B. Hayes by 19 votes in the Electoral College votes with only a few southern states yet to report.

Unfortunately for Tilden, those states' votes tallied 20, and after days of argument between the parties, and a purported deal to free those southern states of any remaining post-Civil War federal soldiers, the remaining votes went to Hayes. In the end, Tilden lost the Presidency by a single Electoral College vote.  


1888: Benjamin Harrison v. Grover Cleveland

It may be hard to believe, but only 12 short years after the Hayes-Tilden popular vote/Electoral College division, it happened all over again. This time, sitting President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, won the popular vote by a scant 90,000 votes, but Republican Benjamin Harrison had a 37 vote advantage in the Electoral College, thanks to him carrying Cleveland's home state by 1 percentage point.

The kind of split election result that made Harrison president would not happen again for 112 years.


2000: George W. Bush v. Al Gore

Thanks to this epically close election, phrases like "butterfly ballot" and "hanging chad" entered the American pop culture lexicon, and the electoral process was mired in red tape for over a month. 

Democrat Al Gore lead the popular vote over Republican George W. Bush by some 500,000 votes, but the race really came down to Florida. With 25 Electoral College votes hanging in the balance, a few hundred Floridian votes would make the difference.

After a ruling by the Supreme Court to halt all recounts, Bush was named the winner, serving as Commander in Chief during some of America's most difficult crises, including 9/11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Al Gore, on the other hand, would go on to win a Nobel Peace Prize and an Academy Award instead.



Elisa D. Keller is a news editor for Worldnow.

  • Local News - KOTA TerritoryLocal News KOTA TerritoryMore>>

  • Christian community celebrates Easter at Mount Rushmore

    Christian community celebrates Easter at Mount Rushmore

    At seven in the morning Christians from all over came to celebrate the resurrection of Christ at Mount Rushmore.
    The Easter Sunrise Celebration included music, prayers and a sermon by Reverend Diane Janssen Hemmen of the Hermosa United Church of Christ.
    At seven in the morning Christians from all over came to celebrate the resurrection of Christ at Mount Rushmore.
    The Easter Sunrise Celebration included music, prayers and a sermon by Reverend Diane Janssen Hemmen of the Hermosa United Church of Christ.
  • Rapid City DOC and police look for missing inmate

    Rapid City DOC and police look for missing inmate

    Rapid City DOC and police look for missing inmate

    Rapid City, S.D.- Department of Corrections staff members and local law enforcement are searching for a missing state prison inmate in Rapid City.Inmate Paul Trejo walked away from the Rapid City Minimum Unit overnight.Trejo is a 26-year-old Native American male with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5-feet 10-inches tall and weighs approximately 245 pounds.Trejo is currently serving a 10-year sentence with two years suspended for third-degree burglary out of Butte County.Anyone who sees Trejo...
    Rapid City, S.D.- Department of Corrections staff members and local law enforcement are searching for a missing state prison inmate in Rapid City.Inmate Paul Trejo walked away from the Rapid City Minimum Unit overnight.Trejo is a 26-year-old Native American male with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5-feet 10-inches tall and weighs approximately 245 pounds.Trejo is currently serving a 10-year sentence with two years suspended for third-degree burglary out of Butte County.Anyone who sees Trejo...
  • Women dies after fall while climbing Falling Rock

    Woman dies after fall while climbing Falling Rock

    Woman dies after fall while climbing Falling Rock

    Pennington County, S.D.- A 39 year old woman has died as a result of injuries sustained from a fall while rock climbing this afternoon.At 5:00pm, Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to Falling Rock for a report of an injured rock climber. Members of the Pennington County Search and Rescue team also responded and were able to extricate the victim. She was then transported by Life Flight to Rapid City Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead.The Johnson Siding Fire Department, Rapid City ...
    Pennington County, S.D.- A 39 year old woman has died as a result of injuries sustained from a fall while rock climbing this afternoon.At 5:00pm, Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to Falling Rock for a report of an injured rock climber. Members of the Pennington County Search and Rescue team also responded and were able to extricate the victim. She was then transported by Life Flight to Rapid City Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead.The Johnson Siding Fire Department, Rapid City ...
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • New 24-hour recycling center replaces old Fairmont site

    New 24-hour recycling center replaces old Fairmont site

    You’ll have to go the extra mile if you want to be eco-friendly. The old Fairmont site where people use to drop off their recyclables and yard waste is now closed. It's been replaced with a new 24-hour facility on Highway 79 at the entrance to the landfill. Karl Merbach, superintendent of the Solid Waste Operations, said the city decided to take the money it would have used to repair the Fairmont site and build the new facility. "We think it's a great site. We have lights, we have security c...
    You’ll have to go the extra mile if you want to be eco-friendly. The old Fairmont site where people use to drop off their recyclables and yard waste is now closed. It's been replaced with a new 24-hour facility on Highway 79 at the entrance to the landfill. Karl Merbach, superintendent of the Solid Waste Operations, said the city decided to take the money it would have used to repair the Fairmont site and build the new facility. "We think it's a great site. We have lights, we have security c...
  • Woman dies in rock climbing incident in SD

    Woman dies in rock climbing incident in SD

    Authorities say a 39-year-old woman has died as a result of injuries sustained from a fall while rock climbing in western South Dakota.
    Authorities say a 39-year-old woman has died as a result of injuries sustained from a fall while rock climbing in western South Dakota.
  • Rapid City man charged with felony child abuse

    Rapid City man charged with felony child abuse

    A Rapid City man is being charged for allegedly "hitting, spanking and kicking" a nine-year-old child.Jamey Brewer, 38, faces a felony count of child abuse and misdemeanor simple assault.If convicted,
    Jamey Brewer, 38, faces a felony count of child abuse and misdemeanor simple assault.
  • ElectionsMore>>

  • GOP campaign committee has $31M to hold House

    GOP campaign committee has $31M to hold House

    Sunday, April 20 2014 11:13 PM EDT2014-04-21 03:13:20 GMT
    The House Republican campaign committee says it raised almost $10 million in March and has $31 million in the bank to defend the GOP's majority.
    The House Republican campaign committee raised almost $10 million in March and has $31.2 million banked to defend the party's majority, according to financial reports filed Sunday.
  • Ahead of vote, Syria's Assad visits seized village

    Ahead of vote, Syria's Assad visits seized village

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:33:11 GMT
    The Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Syria says Christians in the war-ravaged country "will not submit and yield" to extremists who attack "our people and holy places."
    Syria's embattled president marked Easter with a tour Sunday of an ancient Christian village recently recaptured by his forces, an important symbolic prize for his government ahead of coming presidential elections he...
  • Insurgents kill at least 11 Algerian soldiers

    Insurgents kill at least 11 Algerian soldiers

    Sunday, April 20 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-04-20 19:33:06 GMT
    Algerian police and military officials said Islamist insurgents ambushed a military bus, killing at least 10 soldiers in the central Kabylie mountains.
    Islamist insurgents ambushed an Algerian military convoy in a mountainous region, killing 11 soldiers and wounding five others, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.
Powered by WorldNow

518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

Couldn't find what you were looking for?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - WorldNow and KOTA. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.