February 27, 1980 – The results were in from the New Hampshire Presidential Primaries and the big winner was former California Governor Ronald Reagan, who swept to victory with 50% of the Republican vote and 13 delegates. George Bush got 23%, Howard Baker got 13% and Bob Dole finished dead last. On the Democratic side, Jimmy Carter won 49% of the Democratic vote and acquired 10 delegates to Senator Ted Kennedy’s 38%. California Governor Jerry Brown got 10% of the vote, finishing 3rd.
The turnout was over a quarter million voters, eclipsing all other records for a Primary election by either party. President Jimmy Carter expressed gratitude over his win, and Ronald Reagan was even more gratified. For him it was a victory margin that stunned even the candidate. Ronald Reagan had thought all along that the race would be close, perhaps a win by 5 points. The margin was actually more than 5 times that number, and it injected a new momentum in a campaign that was under “new management”. Ironically, on the day that Ronald Reagan scored an astounding victory, he dismissed his campaign architects, including the highly respected strategist, John Sears. Reagan had been upset for months about what he termed overspending and in-fighting. He was also under pressure from his Conservative supporters to fire Sears after his loss in the Iowa Primary. Sears position was taken over by William Casey, an attorney who served in the Nixon and Ford administrations; a man who had never managed a national campaign. After New Hampshire came Vermont, more campaign stumping as that primary was one week away. The election season was in full-swing.
Meanwhile, there was other election news in other parts of the world. In Rhodesia, many thousands of Blacks crowded the poling places for the start of a three-day election by a Black majority to lead what will become the new nation of Zimbabwe. 3 million blacks were eligible to vote to select a Prime Minister and 80 members of Parliament. Whites who voted in a separate election two weeks earlier, would have 20 seats in Parliament. The three main contenders for the Black vote in the election were former guerrilla leaders Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo and former Prime Minister Bishop Abel Muzorewa. The results would not be known until the following week due to the complex security arrangements over the counting of paper ballots.
And there was a lot of other news happening that February 27, 1980 – and the rest of it was reported on the CBS World News Roundup and The World Tonight.