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Bush Wins 2004 U.S. Presidential Election
Incumbent carries Electoral College, majority of popular vote


President George W. Bush on November 2 was re-elected president of the United States.

"Voters turned out in historic numbers and delivered a historic victory," Bush said in a November 3 speech to supporters in Washington. "America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens. "

As of November 3, Bush had won 29 states and 274 electoral votes with results in Iowa and New Mexico remaining too close to call. "President Bush's decisive margin of victory makes this the first presidential election since 1988 in which the winner received a majority of the popular vote," said Andrew Card, Bush's chief of staff, on November 3. "And in this election, President Bush received more votes than any presidential candidate in our country's history."

Bush also won the state of Florida -- a state that was hotly contested in the 2000 election and a 2004 prize coveted by both candidates -- with 52 percent of the popular vote to Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry's 47 percent. Experts agreed that if either candidate won both Florida and Ohio they would secure the victory, and Bush did just that.

Bush led Kerry by about 140,000 votes in Ohio after the polls closed November 2, but uncounted provisional ballots resulted in delaying the official announcement of the winner. It was clear by November 3, however, that Kerry would not have enough votes to win the state even if the provisional ballots were included in the tally. As a result, the Kerry campaign conceded the election to Bush on November 3.

In his concession speech from Boston, Kerry said he spoke to the president and offered him and first lady Laura Bush his congratulations. "We talked about the danger of division in our country and the need ... for unity, for finding common ground and coming together," he said. "Today, I hope we can begin the healing."

In his speech to the nation, Bush echoed this theme of unity, reaching out to those who voted for Kerry, saying, "To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust. A new term is a new opportunity to reach out to the whole nation. We have one country, one Constitution, and one future that binds us."

The 2004 presidential election was marked by high voter turnout that resulted in long lines at many polling places even after the official closing time. Bush maintained a lead in the national popular vote throughout the evening, but the race appeared close as Kerry secured many of the country's most populous states, including New York and California, which together have 86 Electoral College votes.

In the end, however, Bush trumped Kerry's 256 electoral votes with wins throughout the South and Midwest, especially in Florida and Ohio, which earned him 274 electoral votes, enough to win the election even with the results from Iowa and New Mexico still uncertain.