All but four states have fielded at least one major party candidate for the White House during the modern primary era

The 2024 cycle has so far produced a historically large Republican presidential field with record-setting GOP candidates from a single state and the first major party hopeful in more than 100 years from North Dakota.

All told, candidates from 11 states are vying for the Democratic or Republican nominations in 2024 with 22 states producing at least one (non-fringe) candidate over the last two cycles.

With campaigns by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum in 2024 and former Montana statewide officials Governor Steve Bullock (in 2020) and Secretary of State Corey Stapleton (in 2024), only four states remain that have yet to produce a Democratic or Republican presidential candidate since the dawn of the modern primary era in 1972: Alaska, Nevada, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Technically, Alaska and Nevada have never done so with Oregon’s last candidate running in 1960 and Wyoming’s in 1924.

So who are the most recent major party presidential candidates from each state?

Alabama: Democrat George Wallace (1976). Wallace carried three states and received 57 votes on the first convention ballot.

Alaska: Former two-term Democratic U.S. Senator Mike Gravel ran for president twice but was no longer a resident of Alaska for either bid. He was the first Democrat to jump into the 2008 race (on April 17, 2006) while living in Virginia, but abandoned that bid in March 2008 to seek the Libertarian Party nomination. Gravel was a California resident during his 2020 Democratic bid.

Arizona: Republican John McCain (2008). McCain won the GOP nomination and 173 Electoral College votes.

Arkansas: Republican Asa Hutchinson (2024). The former governor’s bid for the White House appears to be more of a long-shot than that of his gubernatorial predecessors Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee. Though Huckabee’s second presidential campaign in 2016 lasted 271 days and ended February 1st after a dismal ninth place finish in the Iowa caucuses. Huckabee won eight contests during his 2008 bid.

California: Democrats Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Marianne Williamson and Republican Larry Elder (2024). There have been nine candidacies by Californians over the last two cycles.

Colorado: Democrats John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet (2020). Hickenlooper’s campaign lasted until only August 2019 while Bennet held on until the New Hampshire primary. [Previous candidate: Republican Tom Tancredo in 2008].

Connecticut: Democrat Chris Dodd (2008). Dodd’s campaign lasted just shy of a year and he withdrew on January 3, 2008.

Delaware: Democrat Joe Biden (2024). Aside from Joe Biden’s four presidential campaigns, former GOP Governor Pete du Pont is the only other Delaware politician to launch a White House bid during the modern primary era.

Florida: Republicans Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, and Francis Suarez (2024). Florida produced just two presidential candidates from 1972 through 2012 (Democrats Reubin Askew in 1984 and Bob Graham in 2004) but seven since 2016.

Georgia: Republicans Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain (2012). Gingrich won the South Carolina and Georgia primaries and exited on May 2, 2012 while Cain withdrew on December 11, 2011 before any contests were held.

Hawaii: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard (2020). The U.S. Representative’s campaign lasted a few weeks past Super Tuesday, but received only two delegates from American Somoa. [Previous candidate: Democrat Patsy Mink in 1972].

Idaho: Democrat Frank Church (1976). Church won five primaries and 19 votes at the national convention.

Illinois: Republican Joe Walsh (2020). The talk show host and former U.S. Representative was one of President Trump’s harshest critics and his campaign lasted until early February 2020.

Indiana: Republican Mike Pence (2024). It won’t take long for Pence’s campaign to outlast the previous Republican hopeful from Indiana: Dan Quayle’s campaign ran for 169 days and ended on September 27, 1999. Democratic South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg ran for 322 days before exiting on March 1, 2020.

Iowa: Democrat Tom Vilsack (2008). Vilsack spent only 86 days on the campaign trail, withdrawing on February 23, 2007.

Kansas: Republican Sam Brownback (2008). Brownback’s campaign lasted 273 days and he withdrew on October 19, 2007.

Kentucky: Republican Rand Paul (2016). The Kentucky U.S. Senator could not replicate the success of his father Ron Paul and his 303-day campaign ended on February 3rd after the Iowa caucuses. He won two votes at the convention.

Louisiana: Republican Bobby Jindal (2016). Jindal’s campaign ended after 147 days on November 17, 2015. Buddy Roemer’s 2012 campaign is the only other mainstream major party bid by a Louisiana politician since 1972 (excluding David Duke’s bids as a Democrat in 1988 and a Republican in 1992).

Maine: Democrat Ed Muskie (1972). Muskie won a few primaries and 24 1/3 votes at the national convention. [He also won one vote at the 1980 convention].

Maryland: Democrat John Delaney (2020). Delaney was the first of nearly 30 Democrats to seek the presidency in 2020 with a historic early entrance on July 28, 2017. [Previous candidate: Republican Ben Carson in 2016].

Massachusetts: Democrats Elizabeth Warren, Seth Moulton, and Deval Patrick (2020). Warren won approximately five-dozen delegates but did not win any primaries.

Michigan: Republican Thad McCotter (2012). The congressman’s bewildering presidential campaign lasted only 83 days upon his withdrawal on September 22, 2011.

Minnesota: Democrat Amy Klobuchar (2020). Klobuchar had won just a handful of delegates prior to her Super Tuesday eve withdrawal and high profile endorsement of Joe Biden on March 2, 2020. [Previous candidates: Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann in 2012].

Mississippi: Democrat Cliff Finch (1980). The outgoing governor announced his campaign just a few weeks before leaving office; he withdrew after 101 days on April 2, 1980.

Missouri: Democrat Dick Gephardt (2004). Gephardt’s second presidential bid ended on January 20, 2004 after a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

Montana: Republican Corey Stapleton (2024). Prior to the campaign of Governor Steve Bullock in 2020 it had been nearly 70 years since the last Montanan received any notice in a presidential race. [Democrat U.S. Senator James Murray received 12 first-ballot votes at the 1952 convention].

Nebraska: Democrat Bob Kerrey (1992). Kerrey only won the South Dakota primary and withdrew on March 5, 1992.

Nevada: The Silver State also has not produced a bona fide presidential candidate. Former GOP governor and U.S. Senator Paul Laxalt formed an exploratory committee in the 1988 cycle, but in August 1987, after 121 days, he chose not to run.

New Hampshire: Republican Bob Smith (2000). Before switching to an independent on July 13, 1999 (and back again to the GOP again on November 1st of that year), the U.S. Senator was running for the Republican presidential nomination (and subsequently U.S. Taxpayer’s nomination). His campaign ended on October 28, 1999.

New Jersey: Republican Chris Christie (2024). Christie’s first bid in 2016 lasted 225 days ending the day after the New Hampshire primary.

New Mexico: Republican Gary Johnson (2012). Before becoming the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2012 and 2016, the former two-term Republican governor ran for the 2012 GOP nomination, which ended on December 28, 2011 after 252 days.

New York: Democrats Andrew Yang, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bill de Blasio, and Michael Bloomberg (2020). Bloomberg was the only candidate to win delegates during the primaries last cycle before dropping out the day after Super Tuesday.

North Carolina: Democrat John Edwards (2008). Edwards’ second presidential run started much earlier in the cycle than his 2004 bid and lasted 399 days until his withdrawal on January 30, 2008 after the Florida primary.

North Dakota: Republican Doug Burgum (2024). Burgum is the first North Dakotan in over a century to campaign for the presidency. Although he was never officially a candidate due to his support for Woodrow Wilson, Democratic Governor John Burke did win the state’s inaugural presidential primary on March 19, 1912 as a favorite son candidate. Burke did not seek or receive any convention votes for the presidency but received 386 votes for vice-president.

Ohio: Republican Vivek Ramaswamy (2024). Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan’s 2020 campaign did not have much reach but Governor John Kasich won one primary (his home state) in 2016 and captured 125 convention votes.

Oklahoma: Democrat Fred Harris (1976). Harris’ second presidential bid was 10 times longer (454 days) than his abbreviated campaign in the 1972 cycle when he was still serving in the U.S. Senate (48 days). Harris exited the race on April 8, 1976.

Oregon: Democrat Wayne Morse (1960). The Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democratic U.S. Senator appeared on the primary ballot in D.C., Maryland, and his home state but failed to place first in any contest or win any convention votes.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Joe Sestek (2020). Sestek and Rick Santorum (2012, 2016) are the only Pennsylvania politicians to run for president during the 21st Century. Santorum’s second presidential run was a shell of his 2012 GOP nomination bid when he carried nearly a dozen states. His 2016 campaign ended after 253 days on February 3, 2016 after placing 11th at the Iowa caucuses.

Rhode Island: Democrat Lincoln Chafee (2016). Chafee is the only Rhode Islander to run for president during the modern primary era, doing so for 143 days until his October 23, 2015 withdrawal from the race.

South Carolina: Republicans Nikki Haley and Tim Scott (2024). The four White House candidacies from South Carolina since 2016 (including Lindsey Graham in 2016 and Mark Sanford in 2020) is double the number from 1972 to 2012.

South Dakota: Democrat George McGovern (1984). The 1972 presidential nominee followed up his 1980 U.S. Senate electoral loss with an underwhelming White House run that lasted 184 days and ended on March 14, 1984.

Tennessee: Republican Fred Thompson (2008). Thompson suspended his campaign after 139 days shortly following his disappointing third place finish at the South Carolina primary.

Texas: Republican Will Hurd (2024). Texas had produced two presidential candidates in 2012 (Rick Perry, Ron Paul), 2016 (Ted Cruz and Perry), and 2020 (Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke).

Utah: Republican Jon Huntsman (2012). Huntsman went all-in for New Hampshire, but finishing just third in the state’s primary led him to exit the race two days later on January 16, 2012 after 210 days on the campaign trail.

Vermont: Democrat Bernie Sanders (2020). Sanders has recorded the two most successful presidential campaigns from Vermont to date with Howard Dean winning only his home state in 2004 and no other candidate receiving more than 93 convention votes prior to the modern primary era.

Virginia: Republican Jim Gilmore and Democrat Jim Webb (2016). Both campaigns were short-lived – Gilmore’s lasting 198 days until February 12, 2016 and Webb’s just 111 days until October 20, 2015.

Washington: Democrat Jay Inslee (2020). The sitting governor joined Scoop Jackson (1972, 1976) as the only major party presidential candidates from Washington since 1972.

West Virginia: Democrat Richard Ojeda (2020). The former state Senator’s campaign lasted only 76 days before his exit on January 25, 2019. [Previous candidate: Robert Byrd’s 1976 favorite son candidacy].

Wisconsin: Republican Scott Walker (2016). Considered one of the biggest busts of the 2016 cycle, Walker was on the campaign trail only 71 days when he withdrew on September 21, 2015.

Wyoming: Democrat John Kendrick (1924). The Cowboy State U.S. Senator received six votes on the first three ballots at the controversial 1924 national convention.

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  1. Flickertail-Pembina on July 10, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    To the best of my knowledge William Floyd “Bill” Weld had not moved back to MA from his native NY since his unsuccessful bids for governor in 2006 (as a Republican) and vice president in 2016 (on the Libertarian ticket with Gary Johnson).

    Prior to Pence, Senator “Dick” Lugar was the most recent one, for between 1993 and early 1997 “Dan” Quayle moved from IN to AZ (where his grandfather had owned some media properties as well) – helping his son Eugene Benjamin launch his (brief) congressional career and making James Danforth himself ‘The Other Copper State Aspirant’ for the 2000 cycle. “Mayor Pete” was a resident during the 2020 cycle, but he is longer a Hoosier State resident, either, having migrated to MI for family reasons.

    • Dr. Eric Ostermeier on July 10, 2023 at 7:37 pm

      Weld, to be sure, should be viewed as a New York candidate, particularly in light of his ’06 campaign that you mentioned. Quayle did officially move to Arizona (Paradise Valley?) in 1996, but is so inextricably linked to his then recent political history in Indiana (compared to, say, Gravel in Alaska by the time he ran in ’08 and ’20) it seems a bit more difficult to label him an ‘Arizona candidate.’ Particularly so because Quayle intentionally came ‘home’ to Indiana (Huntington) to formally launch his campaign in April 1999.

  2. Connor Cobb on July 11, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    Fun fact: Sam Brownback is the last sitting senator to win a governorship. Mike DeWine lost his senate seat in 2006 before being A.G. from 2011-2019 and was elected gov in 2018. David Vitter ran for gov in 2015 but lost, after which he retired from the senate in 2017. The big question is will Mike Braun be able to win the 2024 gov primary?

    • Dr Eric J Ostermeier on July 11, 2023 at 1:37 pm

      I believe there are only nine sitting U.S. Senators (in the direct election era) who were elected governor – with five of these since 1990: Pete Wilson of CA (1990), Dirk Kempthorne of ID (1998), Frank Murkowski of AK (2002), Jon Corzine of NJ (2006), and Kansas’ Brownback in 2010. Also Elmer Benson of MN (1936), Matthew Neely of WV (1940), Monrad Wallgren of WA (1944), and Price Daniel of TX (1956).

      • John Chessant on July 17, 2023 at 8:41 pm

        I think A. Harry Moore of NJ (1937) and Edwin C. Johnson of CO (1954) should also be on this list, though these two are different from the others since they had served as governor already, before becoming senators.

  3. Flickertail-Pembina on July 12, 2023 at 9:29 am

    Notes & Trivia:

    – Corey Stapleton became a musical artist (…& The Pretty Pirates) after he lost a congressional election in 2020. In adjoining ID, Glen Taylor was a singer (and actor) before his election to Congress in 1944 and vice presidential bid in 1948.

    – Despite its growing population and political clout, no one from the Silver State seems inclined to avail himself/herself even for a vice presidential bid. Perhaps the state’s, ahem, ‘entertainment sectors’ are serving as inconvenient (if not insurmountable) impediments?

    – Did “Missing Linc” Chafee leave RI – and move to WY – _after_ his withdrawal from the 2016 presidential bid?

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