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Unusual Results in Elections Past

November 6, 2018
Emmetsburg News

I suspect we all have had our fill of politicians, campaigns and commercials. Instead of penning another political editorial, I will spare my readers my rhetoric and, instead, chronicle some of the more unusual voting results that have occurred recently and in elections long past. These stories come courtesy of So, in no particular order

Jesse "the Body" Ventura wins the 1998 Minnesota gubernatorial race. Running as an Independent, Ventura collected 37 percent of the vote, beating out Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Hubert Horatio "Skip" Humphrey III, son of the late vice president.

In 1824, Andrew Jackson won 41 percent of the popular vote to John Quincy Adams' 31 percent. But Jackson did not carry enough Electoral College votes. The final vote fell to the House of Representatives. Speaker of the House Henry Clay drummed up support for Adams. When Adams was elected, he made clay secretary of state. Jackson called the results a "corrupt bargain."

No other leader in World War II rallied his nation like Winston Churchill. His radio speeches to bombed-out London kept that city's citizens from losing hope. Following the war, Great Britain repaid Churchill in the 1945 election by voting in Clement Attlee in a landslide. Londoners considered Churchill a hero but decided to go in a "new direction."

Fred Tuttle was a Vermont dairy farmer who did not like the cut of Jack McMullen's gib. In Vermont's Republican Senatorial primary, Bostonian McMullen tried to use his wealth to buy the primary and then go on to unseat Senator Patrick Leahy. Tuttle objected to an out-of-stater representing his state, so he ran against McMullen. The dairy farmer spent a couple hundred dollars on his campaign. He befuddled McMullen during debates by asking questions only a true Vermonter would know. Tuttle beat McMullen by ten points. After taking the primary, Tuttle endorsed Leahy.

In 1990, Paul Wellstone, a college professor from Northfield, Minnesota, went up against Senator Rudy Boschwitz. Wellstone lacked experience and financial backing. And he looked more like a used car salesman than a political candidate. He wrote his own campaign speeches, canvassed the state in an old school bus and stayed in supporters' homes instead of hotels. The formula worked: Wellstone's victory over Boschwitz was one of the biggest upsets in political history.

Adolph Hitler lost Germany's 1932 election to incumbent Paul von Hindenburg. But following World War I, Germany was a country in disarray. Hitler's supporters convinced the aging von Hindenburg to appoint the future Fuhrer as the head of a coalition independent from traditional parties.

"Dewey Defeats Truman." Not. In the 1948 presidential election, President Truman was trailing in the polls to Thomas E. Dewey. As the voting numbers came in, Dewey appeared to be a lock, prompting the "Chicago Tribune" to print the infamous headline: "Dewey Defeats Truman."

John Fitzgerald Kennedy defeated Richard Milhous Nixon in the 1960 presidential race. Kennedy took Illinois, which was a pivotal state in the race. He was also young and good looking. The debates were televised for the first time. Voters took to Kennedy's charm and were mildly repulsed by Nixon's sweaty visage. Some argue if the debates had not been television, Nixon would have become president.



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