Though the massive 2020 Democratic field raised the bar for the number of same-state candidates

With Francis Suarez (pictured) entering the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination this week, the Miami mayor becomes the third resident from the state of Florida to seek the GOP nod this cycle, joining former President Donald Trump and Governor Ron DeSantis.

This is the first cycle during the modern primary era in which three candidates from the same state will vie for the Republican nomination.

In fact, from 1972 through 2016, no state had produced three candidates running for the same major party nomination on either the Democratic or the Republican side.

That ended, of course, in 2020 when nearly 30 Democratic candidates entered the race producing five sets of same-state hopefuls, including three states with three or more candidates:

  • California had at least four with U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell, author Marianne Williamson, and businessman Tom Steyer. Former Alaska U.S. Senator Mike Gravel was also a California resident during his quasi lark of a campaign.
  • New York, meanwhile, produced four candidates: U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, businessman and media mogul Michael Bloomberg, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Massachusetts churned out three candidates: U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Representative Seth Moulton.
  • Colorado offered up U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and former Governor John Hickenlooper.
  • Texas also supplied the field with a couple of former officeholders – ex-U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke and former San Antonio Mayor (and HUD Secretary) Julian Castro.

It should be noted this is not the first time three Republicans from the same state have been involved in a presidential race, but one has to look back prior to the modern primary era.

For example, in 1916, three Republicans from New York were among the top vote-getters in initial convention balloting.

Supreme Court Justice (and eventual nominee) Charles Evans Hughes led on all rounds of balloting with former New York U.S. Senator Elihu Root placing second on the second round of balloting with 98.5 votes and former President Teddy Roosevelt coming in fifth in the second round with 81 votes.

The 1940 election cycle also saw three New Yorkers receive support at the GOP convention – lawyer Wendell Willkie was the eventual nominee, Manhattan District Attorney Thomas Dewey led on the first three rounds of balloting, and publisher Frank Gannett ran seventh on the second ballot with 30 votes.

Since 1972, there have been at least two states with two or more candidates vying for the same major party presidential nomination in nine of these 14 cycles.

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  1. John Chessant on June 15, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    What state did you count Ben Carson as being from? I believe he was registered to vote in Florida in 2016, in which case Florida had three presidential candidates that cycle as well, the other two being Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

    • Dr Eric J Ostermeier on June 15, 2023 at 12:50 pm

      I use Maryland for Carson, although, at the time of his FEC filing, he actually used a Virginia (Alexandria) address.

  2. Flickertail-Pembina on June 15, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    I for one am (pleasantly) stunned that the LEGAL RESIDENCE standard has been applied _uniformly_ with regard to presidential aspirants, e.g. Wendell Willkie for NY, Mike Gravel for CA!

    Trivia: Barring unexpected late entries, no resident from the Lone Star State will make a bid to become the presidential nominee of a major party – first since the 1972 cycle. However, a Texan – by birth – is pursuing an arguably quixotic bid for the Democratic nomination, thus keeping the streak (sort of) intact.

    • Dr Eric J Ostermeier on June 15, 2023 at 12:55 pm

      This legal residence issue has indeed come up a time or two! With Willkie in 1940 I think it is less controversial as New York was also his primary residence (both he and his wife Edith (and their son and servant) are listed as residents in the 1940 U.S. Census on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

    • Dr Eric J Ostermeier on June 22, 2023 at 11:04 am

      And just like that former GOP Texas U.S. Rep. Will Hurd says, “Not so fast” and joins the crowded field so the Texas streak continues.

  3. John Chessant on June 15, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    Are we seeing a rise in mayors as presidential candidates?

    Prior to 2016, I count the following 10 sitting or former mayors who ran for president:

    *1972 (D): Hubert Humphrey (Minneapolis), Sam Yorty (L.A.), John Lindsay (N.Y.C.)
    *1992 (D): Larry Agran (Irvine, CA) [currently still serving on the city council!]
    *1996 (R): Richard Lugar (Indianapolis), Pete Wilson (San Diego)
    *2004 (D): Dennis Kucinich (Cleveland)
    *2008 (D): Dennis Kucinich (Cleveland), Tom Vilsack (Mount Pleasant, IA)
    *2008 (R): Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.C.)

    We have had 13 mayors run for president since 2016:

    *2016 (D): Bernie Sanders (Burlington, VT), Lincoln Chafee (Warwick, RI), Martin O’Malley (Baltimore)
    *2016 (R): George Pataki (Peekskill, NY)
    *2020 (D): Bernie Sanders (Burlington, VT), Michael Bloomberg (N.Y.C.), John Hickenlooper (Denver), Cory Booker (Newark), Julián Castro (San Antonio), Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, IN), Bill de Blasio (N.Y.C.), Wayne Messam (Miramar, FL)
    *2024 (R): Francis Suarez (Miami)

    Excluding candidates for whom mayor was not their highest office, I count four before 2016 and five after 2016.

    Jerry Brown (Oakland) and Douglas Wilder (Richmond) became mayors after their presidential campaigns, while Carol Moseley Braun and Andrew Yang were unsuccessful candidates for mayor of Chicago and N.Y.C., respectively, after their presidential campaigns.

    Lowell Weicker was first selectman of Greenwich, CT and Beto O’Rourke was mayor pro tempore of El Paso, offices similar to mayor but not exactly equivalent. Scott Walker was executive of Milwaukee County, WI and appears to be the only former county executive to have run for president.

    Several other presidential aspirants have held municipal offices below the level of mayor, including district attorney (Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bob Dole, Arlen Specter, etc.), superintendent (Michael Bennet), board of education (Sargent Shriver), and city council (Eric Swalwell, Tulsi Gabbard, etc.). Two major 2024 candidates besides Suarez have held municipal office: Chris Christie (board of commissioners of Morris County, NJ) and Joe Biden (county council of New Castle County, DE).

    The most recent president with a mayoral stint on their résumé is Calvin Coolidge (Northampton, MA), and the most recent such losing nominee is Hubert Humphrey (Minneapolis).

    • Dr Eric J Ostermeier on June 16, 2023 at 8:02 pm

      This is another very impressive list, John! I don’t think you missed a single mayor at first glance. The number of mayors in 2020 alone is staggering, although I wonder if we’ll ever see another field that large again.

    • Geoff Gamble on June 17, 2023 at 2:35 am

      Interestingly, no incumbent or ex mayor of Chicago evidently has made a bona fide bid for the presidency (Rahm Emnaneul actually made the jump from a powerful post within a national Democratic administration to the chief executive of Windy City).

      Had Democrat Thomas Bradley won the 1982 gubernatorial election (a year that nationally heavily favored his party) he might have made a bid for the presidency, most likely in 1988 or 1992 – and most likely a stronger bid than that waged by his predecessor Yorty.

  4. […] Florida Sets Modern GOP Record with Three Presidential Hopefuls […]

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