1976 Presidential Election

Timeline: The Campaign Trail

This timeline charts Gerald Ford's path in the 1976 election, from competing for the Republican nomination in the primaries to his fight against Jimmy Carter in the general election. Follow along to learn more about the key moments in his campaign.

May 1

Texas Primary

Reagan Wins

ballot box illustration

May 2


Campaign Stop: Ft. Wayne

President Ford interviewed by Gary Graham, a political writer for the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN.

May 3

Indiana to Alabama

Campaign Stops: Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis ... Birmingham

Campaign rally in Wilson Park, Birmingham, AL.

May 4

Primaries: Indiana, Georgia, Alabama

Reagan wins all 3

ballot box illustration

May 7


Campaign Stop: Omaha

President Ford greets a newborn at Archbishop Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha, NE.

May 8

Nebraska to Missouri

Campaign Stops: Omaha, Lincoln ... Kansas City, Independence

President Ford speaks in Lincoln, NE.

May 11

Primaries: Nebraska, West Virginia

Ford wins West Virginia
Reagan wins Nebraska

ballot box illustration
May 12


Campaign Stops: Detroit, Southfield, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Sterling Heights, Roseville

Primary campaign trip to Michigan.

May 14

Tennessee to Kentucky to Michigan

Campaign Stops: Bristol, Johnson City, Memphis ... Louisville ... Flint

President Ford greets an elephant on a primary campaign trip to Memphis, TN.

May 15


Campaign Stops: Flint, Durand, Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Niles, Holland, Grand Rapids

May 16


Campaign Stops: Grand Rapids, Saginaw

President Ford, First Lady Betty Ford and Susan Ford in Saginaw, MI.

May 18

Primaries: Michigan, Maryland

Ford wins both

ballot box illustration

May 22


Campaign Stops: Medford, Portland

President Ford taping a "One-on-One" interview with Ted Warren at KGW-TV (NBC), Portland, OR.

May 23

Oregon to California

Campaign Stops: Portland, Pendleton ... El Toro, Los Angeles

President Ford addresses the greater Los Angeles Press Club.

May 24

California to Nevada back to California

Campaign Stops: Laguna Hills, Anaheim ... Las Vegas ... San Diego, Van Nuys, Los Angeles

President Ford disembarks the Theresa Janene, in the San Diego Harbor.

May 25


Campaign Stops: Los Angeles, San Jose, Walnut Creek

President Ford with a model of the Liberty Bell in Walnut Creek, CA.

May 25

Primaries: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee

Ford wins Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee
Reagan wins Arkansas, Idaho, Nevada

ballot box illustration
May 26

California to Ohio

Campaign Stops: San Jose ... Columbus

President Ford holds the football presented to him by Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes in Columbus, OH.