The 1976 Presidential Election proved to be one of the most contentious in recent history. President Ford was one of few incumbent presidents to combat a serious primary challenge during an election year. Ronald Reagan’s challenge split the Republican Party and added difficulties to a party still recovering from Watergate. Ford’s triumph over Reagan at the Republican National Convention gave him the opportunity to focus on his Democratic Party challenger, Jimmy Carter. He campaigned aggressively throughout the country – even engaging in a whistle-stop tour of the Midwest and a riverboat tour of the Deep South. The televised debates with Jimmy Carter drew so many viewers that three of them still rank among the top ten “most viewed” debates in recent election history. Jimmy Carter won what ended up being a close election. Ford could not overcome the negative reactions to Watergate, the Nixon Pardon, and the Fall of Saigon, along with a slow economic recovery. The campaign material created during the election runs the gamut – from political buttons and signage to hats and belt buckles.