Oct. 31, 1980: Ronald Reagan and his campaign strategists identified Pennsylvania — particularly its western half — “as a determinant of whether Reagan ends up the hero or the anti-hero of the 1980 presidential campaign.” On Oct. 31, four days before the election, then-California Gov. Reagan brought his campaign against incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter to Pittsburgh.
On that day, Reagan met with labor leaders in the William Penn Hotel and spoke at a Station Square rally on the South Side. Reagan was accompanied by Sens. John Heinz and Richard Schweiker. (Schweiker later served as Secretary of Health and Human Services in Reagan’s administration).
The Post-Gazette wrote about the rally: “Upon entering the Grand Concourse and clutching the hands of Sens. Schweiker and Heinz, arms upraised in anticipation of victory, the 69-year-old candidate looked understandably tired. He seemed to take no notice of the sumptuously refurbished P&LE Railroad station, despite the explanatory pointings and whisperings of Heinz.”
On Nov. 4, 1980, Ronald Reagan won the presidential election in a landslide.
(Photo by James Klingensmith, Post-Gazette)
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