Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Center for Politics & Public Affairs

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1996 Primary

As in recent presidential primaries, Pennsylvania played no significant role in the outcome of either party’s presidential nominating contest. Thirty-nine states chose delegates in primaries or caucuses before the Keystone state’s primary was held on April 23rd. Of the 4,295 delegate votes at the Democratic convention, some 3,396 had been chosen or mostly chosen by mid-April. Similarly, about 1,544 of the 1,984 Republican delegates had been picked or mostly picked by the time the process reached Pennsylvania.

THE DEMOCRATS

Incumbent President William Clinton faced no real challenge and coasted to renomination. In the Pennsylvania, he bested Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., earning 666,486 votes to LaRouche’s 57,583. He carried every county.

THE REPUBLICANS

Though the race for the Republican nomination was also decided, with former senate majority leader Bob Dole emerging as the clear front runner, four other candidates filed nomination papers and appeared on the Republican ballot: U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, Patrick Buchanan, Alan Keyes and Steve Forbes. The moderate Pennsylvania establishment had earlier rallied around Dole, and given his front runner status, he swept the state. With 435,031 votes, he easily bested Buchanan with 123,011, Forbes with 55,018, Keyes with 40,025, and Lugar with 31,119. Dole swept every county.