Using the phenomenon termed the “Massachusetts Miracle” to promote his campaign, Dukakis sought the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in the 1988 United States presidential election, prevailing over a primary field that included Jesse Jackson, Dick Gephardt, Paul Simon, Gary Hart, Joe Biden and Al Gore, among others.
Announcing his candidacy in April 1987, he won the Democratic nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta on July 21, 1988. Dukakis faced Republican nominee Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush in one of the most negative campaigns to date. Bush assailed Dukakis on his gubernatorial record for many things, including furloughing a convicted felon who then repeated his crime and the cleanliness of Boston Harbor. During the election campaign, Dukakis and his running mate, Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, failed to find issues that attracted voters and to attack effectively the Republicans’ record under President Ronald Reagan. Bush swept 40 of 50 states and won the election, becoming the first sitting vice president to be elected in more than 150 years. Bush, and his running-mate Dan Quayle, took 426 electoral votes.