Congressional Quarterly has been running an interesting online series about the history of U.S. Presidential Primaries. They posted Part 6 today covering the 1996 primaries- probably one of the first primaries that I actually remember following.
Then-president Bill Clinton was, of course, the Democrat’s presidential candidate so the Dems were able to avoid a primary. But the Republicans had just won back the House and the Senate in 1994 with their “Contract with America”- so the win was certainly not guaranteed for Clinton. Actually- it was looking pretty good for the GOP in 1996.
You can read more about the ’96 Republican primary between Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, Dick Lugar, Lamar Alexander, Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes at CQPolitics.com.