Keeping a promise made during the 1876 campaign, incumbent President Rutherford Hayes did not seek re-election. The Republican Party eventually chose another Ohioan, James Abram Garfield, as their standard-bearer. The Democratic Party meanwhile chose Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock as their nominee.
The election of 1880 was largely seen as a referendum on the Republican's relaxation of Reconstruction efforts in the southern states. There were no pressing issues of the day save tariffs - the Republicans supporting higher tariffs, the Democrats supporting lower ones.
Georgia voters did not cast their ballots until December 8, 1880, belatedly awarding their 11 electoral votes to Hancock. Despite capturing less than 10,000 more popular votes than Hancock, Garfield was easily elected, capturing 214 of the states' 369 electoral votes.
While Hayes didn't seek renomination, former President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) openly sought nomination to a third term. Going into the Chicago convention he was the front-runner, but opponents supported a number of other candidates, including James Gillespie Blaine of Maine and Ohio's John Sherman. James Garfield, who was representing the Ohio delegation, gave a major speech in support of Sherman but soon found himself among those receiving delegate votes. On the 36th ballot, Garfield garnered 399 delegate votes, outlasting Grant (who had 313), Blaine (285) and Sherman to win the nomination. Chester Arthur was subsequently chosen as Garfield's running mate by a large margin over Elihu B. Washburne. The convention is also noteworthy as it was the first at which delegates cast votes for an African-American, Blanche Kelso Bruce.
The Democratic Party convention was a wild affair, with literally dozens of names being presented as potential Presidential nominees. In the end, Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock was nominated with 705 delegate votes, besting Thomas F. Bayard (154), Samuel J. Randall (129), Henry G. Payne (81), Allen Granberry Thurman (69), Stephen J. Field (66), and a host of other candidates. William Hayden English was subsequently nominated as Hancock's running mate.
Greenback Labor Party
Dissatisfied with the fiscal policies of both parties, the Greenback Labor Party, a minor force in the 1876 election, returned with James Baird Weaver as its Presidential nominee and Benjamin Chambers as his running mate.
See also: President of the United States, U.S. presidential election, 1880, History of the United States (1865-1918)
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