President Douglas Tilden was elected four years prior alongside Vice-President Henry Rowe, during the previous election in 2000 and both were eligible to seek second terms.
- Douglas Tilden - Incumbent President, former Senator from West Virginia
- Jacob Watts - Governor of New Hampshire
Unpopular incumbent President Douglas Tilden sought reelection but was not without some opposition from his party. Since taking office, Tilden’s leadership had been widely criticized by members of both sides due to his relatively inconsistent policy decisions. With several conflicts in the Middle East waging on, Tilden stalled on the decision of whether or not to continuing to increase the number of troops stationed overseas or to seek UN intervention. Among other issues, he was seen as a President reluctant to take serious action.
Despite high expectations from pundits of a brutal primary season due to Governor Jacob Watts’ bid against President Tilden, Tilden managed to win a majority of the primaries and caucuses across the country without having to campaign very vigorously. While Watts did carry five states in the New England area, he ultimately ended his bid after losing in Pennsylvania, effectively leaving Tilden to reclaim the nomination.
- Joe Lawton - Senator of Nevada, former Governor and State Treasurer
- Charles Nash - Senator from North Carolina
- Wade Thompson - U.S. Representative from Arizona
- Stanley McCoy - Senator from Kentucky, former State Commissioner of Insurance
The race for the Republican nomination was expected to be a somewhat crowded field after most polls regarding the incumbent President’s approval rating to be at a 35% average. Representative Wade Thompson had begun visiting primary states in early 2003 while Senators Nash and McCoy had been floating their possibilities throughout several interviews months beforehand. However, Senator Joe Lawton was the first to officially announce and took a page out of his father’s old campaigning strategy by holding events in dozens of states before the first caucus.
In a series of three debates, the four candidates each promoted themselves as better alternatives to Tilden. Among the main issues were terrorism, immigration, and slow economic growth. Though the Thompson and McCoy campaigns were seen as promising at the start, both dropped out before the 2nd debate, leaving Charles Nash the only candidate left capable of opposing Joe Lawton, despite having only won four states compared to his eleven at the time.
While Nash did eventually drop out near the end of the primary season, having only carried another two wins, he was speculated as a potential choice for Vice-President. Of the other withdrawn candidates, only McCoy made statements expressing interest in the prospect. Joe Lawton, however, looked to recruit someone with experience that somewhat differed from his. With his father George Lawton essentially heading the search, he suggested retired Joint Chief Wallace Fordham, who had been an outspoken critic of President Tilden’s foreign policy decisions. Joe secured the nomination shortly after his acception to be on the ticket.
By November 2nd, at 11:25 EST, most major broadcasting networks had projected Lawton as the winner. Dougles Tilden called to concede around an hour later and congratulated Joe on his victory.
Both Joe Lawton and Wallace Fordham were sworn into office on January 20th, 2005.