Historical perspective on nomination numbers

I think many of us were surprised by the LCMS presidential nomination results. I had expected the top two vote getters to be SP Gerald Kieschnick and World Relief and Human Care executive director Matt Harrison. But I thought they’d each get about the same number of votes. I was curious to see which one would have more, but I thought it would be measured in terms of dozens — not hundreds. Over at the LCMSPolitics site, I found these really interesting numbers that put yesterday’s news in historical context.

That site lists the nomination results since 1973 and the numbers tell an interesting story. For instance, the 1332 nominations Harrison received is the most that have ever gone to a non-incumbent. It is also more than President Kieschnick has ever received, even as an incumbent.

On the other hand, the 755 nominations Kieschnick received is, by far, the lowest for an incumbent. You can read the data at the link, but I’ve updated it with more recent elections:

Historical Data on Synod President Nomination and Election since 1973

Breakdown by Synodical Convention of those who received more than 100 nominations, and the results of each election

1973 Convention (New Orleans)
Background: 1973 was the first time that congregations nominated candidates for president, the way we still do it today. It was also the first time that JAO Preus was up for re-election.

JAO Preus: 2,678
Oswald Hoffman: 1,172

Result: Hoffman declined nomination. Preus was elected on the first ballot: (57.4% of total votes)

1977 Convention (Dallas)
JAO Preus: 1625
Charles Mueller, Sr.: 277
Bernthal = 142
Walter A. Maier: 105

Result: Even though Preus had 75% of the nominations, he took 2 fewer votes than required on the first vote, and won on the second vote (55% of total votes)

1981 Convention (St. Louis)
Background: J.A.O. Preus had announced that he would not be running again, things are wide open. And how awesome is it that someone named “Guido” was a contender?

Walter A. Maier: 866
Ralph Bohlmann: 744
Hyatt: 624
Guido Merkens: 486
Robert Sauer: 301
Mueller: 295
Bernthal: 260
Karl Barth: 203
Paul Zimmerman: 153
Arnie Kuntz: 100

Results: Bohlman defeated Mueller on the fourth ballot: 722-388 (65%)

1983 Convention (St. Louis)
Background: Bohlmann was up for re-election for the first time.

Ralph Bohlmann 2,139
Mueller = 171
Walter A. Maier: 157

Results: Bohlmann was elected on the first ballot (78.2%)

1986 Convention (Indianapolis)
Ralph Bohlmann: 1387
Robert Sauer: 604
Walter Maier: 193
George Wollenburg: 155
Robert Preus: 108

Results: Bohlmann was elected on the first ballot: 576-447 (51% of the votes)

1989 Convention (Wichita)
Ralph Bohlmann 1511
Robert Sauer 651
Robert Preus 458
Eugene Bunkowske 393
George Wollenburg 166
August Mennicke 120

Results: Bohlmann was elected on the first ballot: 589-535 (52.4%)

1992 Convention (Pittsburgh)
Alvin Barry: 1310
Ralph Bohlman: 1220
Robert Kuhn: 396
August Mennicke: 124

Result: Barry defeated Bohlman on the fourth ballot: 580-568 (50.5%)

1995 Convention (St. Louis)
Background: Barry was up for re-election for the first time.
Alvin Barry: 2111
Robert Kuhn: 253
Dale Meyer: 114
Ralph Bohlmann: 109

Result: Barry as elected on the first ballot with 754 votes (64.8%)

1998 Convention (St. Louis)
Alvin Barry: 1832
John Johnson: 312
Glenn O’Shoney: 269
Robert Kuhn: 232

Result: Barry was elected on the first ballot with 657 votes (56.6%)

2001 Convention (St. Louis)
Background: Barry died unexpectedly after nomination process had concluded.

Alvin Barry: 1292
Gerald Kieschnick: 605
Donald Muchow: 405
Daniel Preus: 141

Result: Kieschnick won 600 – 582 on the fourth ballot (50.8%)

2004 Convention (St. Louis)
Background: Kieschnick’s first time up for reelection.

Gerald Kieschnick: 1,244
Daniel Preus: 976
Kurt Marquart: 686
Dean Wenthe: 310
William Diekelman: 248
Robert Kuhn: 207
Raymond Hartwig: 138
Vernon Gundermann: 108
Wallace Schulz: 102

Result: Kieschnick elected with 53% of vote

2007 Convention (Houston)
Gerald Kieschnick: 1,055
John Wohlrabe: 607
Wallace Schultz: 526
William Diekelman: 315
Daniel Preus : 145

Result: Kieschnick elected with 52% of the vote

2010 Convention (Houston)
Matthew Harrison: 1,332
Gerald Kieschnick: 755
Herbert Mueller, Jr.: 503
Carl Fickenscher II: 5
Daniel Gard: 3

Result: Will be determined in July at Synodical Convention

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.