The 2004 U.S. presidential election was the 55th quadrennial election. The election took place on November 2, 2004, and was a contest between incumbent Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry. President Bush raced little opposition for the Republican nomination. John Kerry was a junior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Kerry faced competition from Vermont governor Howard Dean and North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Kerry was nominated by the Democratic Party for the presidential candidates and Edwards was nominated as his running mate.
The general campaign’s dominant theme was foreign policy. The general election took place less than 18 months after the start of the Iraq War and three years after the September 11 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of almost 3,000 people. Both of these became central issues during the general election. Additionally, Kerry talked about plans to reduce unemployment and the national deficit, increase access to healthcare, and roll back tax cuts for America’s wealthiest. Other topics included issues about religion, abortion, gay rights, and civil rights.
Candidate spending was very high during the campaign, as was voter turnout. Partisan dissension was high as well. On November 2, 2004, the American people voted for their next president. Voting controversies and concerns of voting irregularities emerged during the election as they did in 2000. When it came down to Ohio, Bush was declared the winner the day after election day after Kerry decided not to dispute Bush’s win in the state.
George W. Bush won the following states:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
John Kerry won the following states:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
George W. Bush received a total of 62,039,073 popular votes and John Kerry received 59,027,478 popular votes. George W. Bush won 286 electoral votes over Kerry’s 251 and was re-elected as President of the United States. George W. Bush was re-inaugurated for his second presidential term on January 20, 2005.