Roosevelt was a popular, war-time incumbent and faced little formal opposition. Although a growing number of the party's conservatives - especially in the South - were increasingly skeptical of Roosevelt's economic and social policies, few of them dared to publicly oppose Roosevelt, and he was renominated easily.
Although the party's conservatives could not stop FDR from winning the nomination, the obvious physical decline in the President's appearance, as well as rumors of secret health problems, led many delegates and party leaders to strongly oppose Henry Wallace. Wallace, who was FDR's second Vice-President, was regarded by most conservatives as being too left-wing and personally eccentric to be next in line for the Presidency. Many Democrats were uneasy with Wallace's New Age spiritual beliefs and by the fact that he had written coded letters discussing prominent politicians to his Russian spiritual guru, Nicholas Roerich. Numerous party leaders privately told Roosevelt that they would fight Wallace's renomination, and they proposed Missouri Senator Harry Truman, a moderate who had become well-known as the chairman of a Senate wartime investigating committee, as FDR's new running mate. Roosevelt, who personally liked Wallace and knew little about Truman, reluctantly agreed to accept Truman as his new running mate to preserve party unity. Even so, many liberal delegates refused to abandon Wallace, and they cast their votes for him on the first ballot. However, enough large Northern, Midwestern, and Southern states supported Truman to give him the victory on the second ballot. The fight over the vice-presidential nomination proved to be historic, as FDR's declining health led to his death in April 1945, and Truman thus became the nation's 33rd President instead of Wallace.
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
|Ballot||1st||2nd Before Shifts||2nd After Shifts|
|Harry S. Truman||319.5||477.5||1,031|
|Henry A. Wallace||429.5||473||105|
|John H. Bankhead||98||23.5||0|
|Scott W. Lucas||61||58||0|
|Alben W. Barkley||49.5||40||6|
|J. Melville Broughton||43||30||0|
|Paul V. McNutt||31||28||1|
As 1944 began the frontrunners for the Republican nomination appeared to be Wendell Willkie, the party's 1940 candidate; Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, the leader of the party's conservatives; and New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, who had risen to national fame as the prosecutor of numerous mafia figures, most notably Lucky Luciano, the organized-crime boss of New York City. However, Taft surprised many by announcing that he was not a candidate; instead he voiced his support for a fellow Ohioian, Governor John Bricker, another conservative. With Taft out of the race some GOP conservatives favored General Douglas MacArthur. However, MacArthur's chances were limited by the fact that he was serving in the Pacific theater of the war against Japan, and thus could not campaign for the nomination. His supporters did enter his name in the Wisconsin primary. In the key Wisconsin primary Dewey crushed both Willkie and General MacArthur, thus forcing Willkie to withdraw as a candidate. At the 1944 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Dewey easily overcame the candidacy of Bricker and was nominated on the first ballot. Dewey then chose Bricker as his running mate; Bricker was nominated by acclamation.
In the election on November 7, 1944, Roosevelt scored a comfortable victory over Dewey. Roosevelt took 36 states for 432 electoral votes, while Dewey won 12 states and 99 electoral votes (266 were needed to win). In the popular vote Roosevelt won 25,612,916 votes to Dewey's 22,017,929. Dewey did better against Roosevelt than any of FDR's previous three Republican opponents, and he did have the personal satisfaction of beating Roosevelt in FDR's hometown of Hyde Park, New York, and of winning Truman's hometown of Independence, Missouri. Dewey would again be the Republican presidential nominee in 1948 and would again lose, but by a much smaller margin.
The 1944 Presidential race was the last time both major-party nominees were from New York, or indeed, from the same state.
Source (Popular Vote):
Source (Electoral Vote):
|Franklin Roosevelt Democratic||Thomas Dewey Republican||Other||State Total|
|Florida||8||339,377||70.3||8||143,215||29.7||-||not on ballot||482,592||FL|
|Maryland||8||315,490||51.9||8||292,949||48.2||-||not on ballot||608,439||MD|
|Mississippi||9||168,479||93.6||9||11,601||6.4||-||not on ballot||180,080||MS|
|Nebraska||6||233,246||41.4||-||329,880||58.9||6||not on ballot||563,126||NE|
|Nevada||3||29,623||54.6||3||24,611||45.4||-||not on ballot||54,234||NV|
|North Carolina||14||527,399||66.7||14||263,155||33.3||-||not on ballot||790,554||NC|
|Ohio||25||1,570,763||49.8||-||1,582,293||50.2||25||not on ballot||3,153,056||OH|
|South Dakota||4||96,711||41.7||-||135,365||58.3||4||not on ballot||232,076||SD|
|West Virginia||8||392,777||54.9||8||322,819||45.1||-||not on ballot||715,596||WV|
|Wyoming||3||49,419||48.8||-||51,921||51.2||3||not on ballot||101,340||WY|
Gallup, George Horace, ed. The Gallup Poll; Public Opinion, 1935-1971 3 vol (1972) esp vol 1; summarizes results of each poll as reported to newspapers