Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado’s Past Picks for President

Colorado became a state in 1876, which means that this year’s presidential election will be the 37th since Colorado statehood. True to its reputation as a “purple” state, Colorado’s electoral votes for President have shifted frequently between Democratic and Republican candidates.

Statistically, since 1876, Colorado’s electoral votes have gone toward the Republicans 22 times; toward the Democrats 12 times; and once, in 1892, with a third party, the People’s Party. In addition, Colorado’s electoral votes have gone toward the winning candidate 25 times and toward the losing candidate 11 times. Here are the candidates who received Colorado’s electoral votes in each presidential election, and whether that candidate ultimately won or lost the election:

  • 1876: Rutherford B. Hayes (Republican), winner
  • 1880: James Garfield (Republican), winner
  • 1884: James G. Blaine (Republican), defeated
  • 1888: Benjamin Harrison (Republican), winner
  • 1892: James B. Weaver (People’s Party), defeated
  • 1896: William Jennings Bryan (Democratic/Populist), defeated
  • 1900: William Jennings Bryan (Democratic/Populist), defeated
  • 1904: Theodore Roosevelt (Republican), winner
  • 1908: William Jennings Bryan (Democratic), defeated
  • 1912: Woodrow Wilson (Democratic), winner
  • 1916: Woodrow Wilson (Democratic), winner
  • 1920: Warren G. Harding (Republican), winner
  • 1924: Calvin Coolidge (Republican), winner
  • 1928: Herbert Hoover (Republican), winner
  • 1932: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic), winner
  • 1936: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic), winner
  • 1940: Wendell Wilkie (Republican), defeated
  • 1944: Thomas Dewey (Republican), defeated
  • 1946: Harry S. Truman (Democratic), winner
  • 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican), winner
  • 1956: Dwight D. Eisenhower (Republican), winner
  • 1960: Richard Nixon (Republican), defeated
  • 1964: Lyndon B. Johnson (Democratic), winner
  • 1968: Richard Nixon (Republican), winner
  • 1972: Richard Nixon (Republican), winner
  • 1976: Gerald Ford (Republican), defeated
  • 1980: Ronald Reagan (Republican), winner
  • 1984: Ronald Reagan (Republican), winner
  • 1988: George Bush (Republican), winner
  • 1992: Bill Clinton (Democratic), winner
  • 1996: Bob Dole (Republican), defeated
  • 2000: George W. Bush (Republican), winner
  • 2004: George W. Bush (Republican), winner
  • 2008: Barack Obama (Democratic), winner
  • 2012: Barack Obama (Democratic), winner
  • 2016: Hillary Clinton (Democratic), defeated

Details on each of these elections from 1904 to 2016, including the total number of votes cast for each candidate, can be found in the Colorado Secretary of State’s Abstract of Votes Cast publication, available online from the State Publications Library. Search the library’s online catalog for additional election-related publications from throughout Colorado’s history.

Amy Zimmer
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