The presidential election of 1884 was a competition between Democratic candidate and Governor of New York, Grover Cleveland, and Republican James G. Blaine of Maine. The campaigns of both political parties focused on the personalities themselves, rather than political issues. Cleveland won the 1884 election and became the first Democratic President since 1856.
The Democratic Party supported Grover Cleveland as presidential nominee early on in the election process, except for a few detractors who disagreed with his policies. Despite them, Cleveland secured the nomination and Thomas A. Hendricks was unanimously chosen to be his running mate.
At the Republican National Convention, delegates had to choose between incumbent President Chester A. Arthur, Speaker of the House James G. Blaine of Maine, and Senator George F. Edmunds. Blaine won the nomination easily, and became the party’s presidential candidate. John A. Logan beat out the rest of the candidates to become the vice presidential candidate and running mate to Blaine.
Third parties with candidates running in the 1884 election were the Prohibition Party and the Equal Rights Party, which had formerly promoted the first woman presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull. For the Prohibition Party’s third attempt at a presidential election, they chose John St. John and William Daniel to represent the party. The Equal Rights Party selected Belva Ann Lockwood as presidential candidate, who noted that she herself was still not eligible to vote in the election.
During the campaigns, Blaine’s association with the infamous Mulligan letters, which implicated him in a scandal for selling his congressional influence to businessmen, severely damaged his character. Blaine lost the state of New York, which cost him the election, by his campaign spokesman offending Catholic voters in an offhand statement.
Grover Cleveland stood in contrast to Blaine with a strong track record of his integrity, until it came out that he had fathered an illegitimate son. However, his campaign handled the scandal well, being upfront and open about Cleveland’s role, which was a successful strategy.
The 1884 election was a close race, ultimately decided by New York, which gave its 36 electors to Cleveland. Cleveland had won the state by a tiny margin of just over a thousand popular votes. Those 36 electoral votes were enough to secure the win for Cleveland, and he became the twenty-second President of the United States.