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Gov. Chris Christie campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination at a town hall at the Brick City Grill in Ames, Iowa on Saturday, January 16, 2016. Christie finished 10th in Iowa with just 1.76% of the vote. (Photo: Alex Hanson)

New Jerseyans as presidential candidates

Booker withdrawal keeps Wilson record alive

By David Wildstein, February 17 2020 12:00 am

The withdrawal of two New Jerseyans from the campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination last month keeps Woodrow Wilson’s record intact as the last Garden Stater to win the presidency.

Booker withdrew on January 13 and former Rep. John Delaney (D-Maryland) dropped out on January 30.

Delaney grew up in Wood-Ridge, attended Bergen Catholic High School, and went to college on a scholarship provided by his father’s union, IBEW Local 164 in Paramus.

Gov. Chris Christie ran for president in 2016, but withdrew after a poor showing in the New Hampshire GOP primary.

New Jersey magazine publisher Steve Forbes sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000. In the week following his third place finish in the 1996 New Hampshire primary, Forbes won primaries in Delaware and Arizona, but those were his only victories.

Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2000 against Vice President Al Gore. Bradley won no primaries that year.

In 1960, New Jersey’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention were pledged to Gov. Robert Meyner, the favorite-son candidate. Meyner was interested in the presidency, but never formally entered the race; he had hoped that delegates might turn to him as their candidate if the convention deadlocked between John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Wilson won in 1912, two years after he was elected governor.

Primaries in those days were uncommon and convention rules didn’t necessarily bind delegates. Wilson won contests in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New Jersey and South Dakota. Speaker of the House Champ Clark won in Illinois, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Maryland and California.

He won the Democratic nomination on the 46th ballot after a deadlocked convention in Baltimore narrowed the field to Wilson and Clark. In those days, Democrats had a two-thirds rule to nominate a presidential candidate. Clark had led Wilson through the first 29 ballots.

Wilson was also the last New Jersey presidential candidate to make it to the New Jersey primary.

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