In early 1977, Reagan created a political vehicle called Citizens for the Republic headed by Lyn Nofziger. This political action committee (PAC) was designed to advance the conservative cause at a time when it seemed that those ideas were being abandoned in the United States. This PAC gave Reagan the funding to travel around the country to meet with key supporters, advance the conservative messages of self-determination and small government, and support like-minded candidates for state and local offices. By March 1979, the Reagan exploratory committee was formed, and in November of the same year, the campaign kicked off in New York with Laxalt again acting as the chairman.
Reagan emerged as the dominant figure in the 1980 presidential campaign. He was able to muster support from both Republicans and the diverse elements that designated the New Right. After four years of the Carter Administration, many Americans felt demoralized by high inflation, joblessness, and the poor handling of foreign affairs. Reagan vowed to reenergize and revitalize America to make it “number one again.” On Election Day in November 1980, Reagan easily defeated Carter when he received 51% of the popular vote to Carter’s 41%.
This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Nevada State Library and Archives. The physical collection is housed in Special Collections, a unit of the Libraries, at the University of Nevada, Reno. The digitized materials and website are brought to you by Digital Collections and the Web & Applications Technology departments of the Libraries at the University of Nevada, Reno.