John F. Kennedy ran against Richard M. Nixon in the campaign of 1960. JFK secured the Democratic Party nomination, while Richard Nixon was nominated by the Republican Party.
During the campaign, JFK challenged Nixon to several televised debates. Despite the urging of President Eisenhower, Nixon agreed to the debates. The first debate aired on Sept. 26, 1960, with JFK winning decisively over Nixon. Later studies would confirm this victory. As of the four million Americans who made up their mind because of debates, three million voted for Kennedy. Kennedy also aided in the safe release of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he was arrested on Oct. 19, 1960, which helped swing several states in his favor, resulting a presidential election victory.