With the ongoing war in Iraq, questions over weapons of mass destruction, and the aftermath of 9/11, the key issue in the election of 2004 was terrorism. The incumbent Republican president George W. Bush was running against Massachusetts senator and Democratic candidate John Kerry. Aside from Iraq – which Kerry referred to as a ‘colossal failure of judgement’ – there was debate around domestic security, defence, gay marriage, abortion, education and tax cuts. In a repeat of 2000, the election was extremely close, with the result hinging on the result in Ohio. Bush achieved a slim victory with 50.7 per cent of the popular vote and 286 electoral votes, giving him a second term as president. North Carolina senator and Kerry’s running mate John Edwards won one electoral vote.
— OR —