Ronald Reagan

Though Reagan didn’t make a visit to Wheaton College during the primary, he did make a stop in Wheaton to campaign at the flea market the day before Bush’s speech. Reagan made his visit to the college after receiving his party’s nomination during the fall campaign season. The Governor’s whistle-stop visit came October 8th and was accompanied by numerous religious references within the first few sentences of his speech. He spoke of deliverance, rebirth and C.S. Lewis–words that were well-chosen and that resonated with the audience. Reagan would handily beat Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter with Carter only carrying six states with a total of 49 electoral votes, one-tenth the number for Reagan. Carter had been invited to speak at Wheaton in 1981 but declined fearing a hostile crowd (likely considering Anderson’s treatment).