2016 United States presidential election

2012 November 8, 2016
January 3, 2017 (contingent election)
→ 2020

538 members of the Electoral College
270 electoral votes needed to win
Screen Shot 2016-12-30 at 4.16.17 PM.png
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Nominee Bill O'Brien Selina Meyer
Home state Arizona Maryland
Running mate Laura Montez Tom James
Electoral vote 269 269
Popular vote <10,000 votes over Meyer ???
States carried 31 19 + D.C.


Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states/districts won
by Meyer/James. Red denotes those won by O'Brien/Montez.
Numbers indicate electoral votes allotted to winner of each state.
President before election
Selina Meyer
Elected President
Laura Montez
via contingent election
2017 contingent U.S. presidential election
January 3, 2017

50 state delegations of the House of Representatives
26 state votes needed to win
Candidate Bill O'Brien Selina Meyer
States carried 25 22
Percentage 50.0% 44.0%


Results by state in the House of Representatives. States in Blue voted for Meyer. States in Red voted for O'Brien. States in Gray abstained from the vote.
2017 contingent U.S. vice presidential election
January 5, 2017

100 U.S. Senators + VP
51 votes needed to win
Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 8.54.15 PM.png
Candidate Laura Montez Tom James
Senate vote 51 50

Seal Of The President Of The United States Of America.svg
2016 U.S. presidential election
Primaries (Debates, Convention) • Party nomineeOpposition nomineeGeneral election
Election aftermath
Nevada recountBlack Wednesday (2016)2016 United States banking crisisContingent election
Related races
HouseSenateGovernorsNH special election
2012 • 2016 • 2020

The 2016 United States presidential election was the 58th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Incumbent president Selina Meyer and Arizona Senator Bill O'Brien were the primary contenders for the presidency. The result of the election was inconclusive, as no candidate won a majority of the electoral vote. Under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment, both houses of the United States Congress held a contingent election to decide the presidency and the vice presidency. The House of Representatives failed to elect a president, while the Senate elected Laura Montez for vice president, who upon inauguration immediately assumed the position of president. It was the first election in which the elected president did not run as a candidate for president.

The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses took place between January and June 2016, staggered among the 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. This nominating process was also an indirect election, where voters cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who in turn elected their party's presidential nominee. Arizona Senator Bill O'Brien was nominated for the opposition party nomination, while President Selina Meyer defeated Governor Danny Chung and Joe Thornhill for the party nomination.

Before the election, polls had described it as "the closest in living memory". By early morning on November 9, all the networks could project that the final result was a 269–269 tie between Meyer and O'Brien, with Meyer projected to win the popular vote. A recount ensued in the state of Nevada after returns showed that O'Brien had won the state by such a close margin that state law required a recount. Uncounted ballots, mostly military absentees, were discovered in Washoe County. The recount ended with O'Brien extending his lead in the state and allowing him to surpass Meyer in terms of the national popular vote. The final popular vote count showed that O'Brien had a lead over Meyer of less than 10,000 votes, which would make this the closest election in United States history in terms of the popular vote.

This was the third election (along with 1800 and 1824) to be decided by Congress. Laura Montez was elected vice president by the Senate and, because of the inconclusive presidential vote in the House of Representatives, became the de-facto president elect. Montez's authenticity as president was debated as the Constitution would require the House to vote again until a president is chosen; House Speaker Jim Marwood deliberately refused to schedule another vote to make Montez's presidency permanent.

Background[edit | edit source]

Stuart Hughes' favorability was eroded severely by his administration's deception regarding the Uzbek Hostage Crisis and the subsequent 2015 government shutdown used to distract from the hostage blowback. With the 2014 midterm elections giving the opposition party overwhelming control of the House of Representatives, the House Judiciary committee began discussing an impeachment vote. With senior members of the party such as Andrew Doyle and Roger Furlong turning their backs on him, Hughes announced in June 2015 that he would not be seeking re-election in the 2016 presidential election.

Hughes' wife, first lady Edna Hughes, experienced long-term issues with mental health and substance abuse. During the 2012 presidential election, the Hughes campaign asserted that Edna was an "extremely private person" and rarely made appearances. At least one campaign appearance ended with her being hustled off stage by her husband. In December 2015, Edna Hughes attempted to take her own life. This information was kept secret. On January 23, 2016, Hughes announced that he would be resigning the following day to take care of his wife. Earlier that day, Edna Hughes had been admitted to the George Washington University Hospital. Vice President Selina Meyer took the Oath of Office on January 24, three months into her presidential campaign.

Party primaries[edit | edit source]

Main article: 2016 United States presidential primaries

Nominees[edit | edit source]

Party ticket, 2016
Selina Meyer Tom James
for President for Vice President
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President of the United States
U.S. Senator from Connecticut
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Other major candidates[edit | edit source]

Primaries[edit | edit source]

President Stuart Hughes' rising unpopularity following the Uzbek Hostage Crisis made him a controversial figure even within his own party. In April 2015, Minnesota Governor Danny Chung was the first to announce that he was starting an exploratory committee to see if there would be a chance to run for president, indicating his interest in challenging Hughes for the nomination in 2016.

Vice President Selina Meyer, basking in the positive press from an interview with Janet Ryland where she took responsibility for the hostage miscommunication, planned a presidential run in the 2020 presidential election, after running again for another term with Hughes in 2016. However, with Hughes not running for re-election, Meyer decided to run for president in 2016.

The candidates during the first primary debate; December 2015.

On October 18, 2015, Meyer announced her candidacy. In November 2015, Joe Thornhill, a former baseball manager with no political experience, announced his candidacy. George Maddox announced his resignation as Secretary of Defense in June 2015 and announced his candidacy in November. At the first primary debate, Thornhill came in first place, followed by Meyer, Chung, Nevada congressman Owen Pierce, and Maddox.

Joe Thornhill won the Iowa caucus in January 2016. Shortly before the New Hampshire primary, the presidential race was thrown by the resignation of Stuart Hughes and the swearing-in of President Selina Meyer. However, Meyer's initial blunders as president, including stoking tensions with Iran, placed her third in the New Hampshire primary. In an apparent upset, Danny Chung placed first.

In the subsequent primaries, the race winnowed to just Meyer and Chung. Meyer's 10-day world peace tour in the Middle East improved her popularity and she was able to achieve the party nomination.

Convention[edit | edit source]

At the 2016 National Convention, Vice President Andrew Doyle announced he would not be run with Meyer again on the ticket, officially because of prostate problems. The Meyer team scrambled to find a replacement, considering Chung, Maddox, and briefly Pierce. Meyer's campaign manager Amy Brookheimer suggested Connecticut Senator Tom James to be her running mate. Meyer's refusal and reliance on Karen Collins led Brookheimer to resign at the convention. After Brookheimer's departure, Meyer considered James and, after meeting with him in her hotel suite, he agreed to join the ticket.

Opposition party primaries[edit | edit source]

Nominees[edit | edit source]

Opposition party ticket, 2016

Bill O'Brien Laura Montez
for President for Vice President
Screen Shot 2016-12-30 at 4.16.17 PM.png
U.S. Senator from Arizona U.S. Senator from New Mexico
(until 2017)
O'Brien Logo.png

In April 2015, Arizona Senator Bill O'Brien spoke out about the deception within the Hughes administration, stating: "A cloud of suspicion hangs over this administration. Were there cover ups? Lies?". O'Brien announced his candidacy for president later that year.

O'Brien criticized Meyer's April 2016 Middle East peace tour, stating that "the American people need a need a president, not a Meyer-tollah." O'Brien also criticized Meyer's unpopular Families First Bill, claiming that the concept of a family would come to an end if the bill passed.

Shortly before the opposition convention, O'Brien announced he would select popular New Mexico Senator Laura Montez as his running mate. Montez's diversity, intelligence, and capability unsettled the Meyer campaign.

General election campaign[edit | edit source]

Within a week of the convention, both the Meyer/James and the O'Brien/Montez campaigns were out on the trail. The Meyer campaign began in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maine. The O'Brien campaign began in Florida. Both campaigns were affected by a hurricane set to hit North Carolina. Meyer inadvertently grounded flights in the wrong state in an effort to use the hurricane as a photo op. The hurricane would end up hitting in Florida where O'Brien and Montez were campaigning, giving them a famous image of O'Brien pulling a teddy bear out of wreckage.

Meyer and O'Brien at the first presidential debate; September 2016.

Following a shooting in Pittsburgh in September 2016, Tom James drew criticism for referring to the gunman as a victim too. James walked back his statements and offered a heartfelt apology to those he offended. His sincerity shocked members of Meyer's campaign.

In October 2016, the Families First Bill would see a vote in the House of Representatives. However, due to the bills growing unpopularity, the Meyer administration secretly lobbied for the bill to fail. Their efforts would prove successful. However, Representative Moyes suspected wrongdoing in this and called an investigation into why exactly the bill failed. During a congressional hearing, the extent of the Medileaks scandal would inadvertently be revealed. The Meyer team would exit the hearings relatively unscathed, legally, by scapegoating senior Meyer staffer Bill Ericsson. Ericsson was arrested on November 10.

Debates[edit | edit source]

  • In September 2016, the first presidential debate between President Selina Meyer and Senator Bill O'Brien took place. According to Wendy Keegan, Meyer won the first debate (mentioned in Mommy Meyer).
  • In October 2016, the vice presidential debate between Senator Tom James and Senator Laura Montez took place. (mentioned in B/ill)

Results and aftermath[edit | edit source]

Polls for the election indicated that the race was extremely close between Selina Meyer and Bill O'Brien. At approximately 2:30 AM ET on November 9, CNN called the state of Virginia for Selina Meyer, resulting in a 269-269 electoral tie.

Nevada recount[edit | edit source]

See also: 2016 United States presidential election in Nevada

On November 9, with all of the votes counted, O'Brien's lead over Meyer's was less than half a percent, which by Nevada state law allowed for a possible recount. If Meyer were to win a recount, she would win Nevada's six electoral votes--and therefore the presidency.

Meyer senior strategist Kent Davison claimed that there was statistical evidence of missing ballots somewhere in the state. Meyer staffer Richard Splett discovered from O'Brien hire James Whitman that Washoe County was the location of the missing ballots. On November 17, acting on a tip, US Justice Department deputies found an estimated 10,000 uncounted mail-in ballots hoarded by an anti-Meyer postal worker. 54-year-old Vance Otlow was bitter with Meyer after the Meyer Postal Commission had shut down a plurality of post offices nationwide in 2015. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the recount deadline would be extended until these new ballots would be counted.

On November 18, the new ballots were leaning heavily towards O'Brien. It would soon be discovered that these uncounted ballots were military absentees. On November 20, O'Brien was officially certified the winner, extending his lead. This extension led to O'Brien overtaking Meyer in terms of the national popular vote.

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Economic fallout[edit | edit source]

See also: Black Wednesday (2016) and 2016 United States banking crisis

The uncertainty following the election would result in economic turmoil. On November 9, the Dow Jones experienced it's worst day since the 2008 economic crisis. Wanting to neutralize Tom James, Meyer made James economy czar, forcing him to take the fall for any financial woes. After taking over his economic task force, Meyer met E.M. Wheelright CEO Charlie Baird, and would develop a romantic relationship with the banker.

On December 9, 2016, the Dow Jones dropped 3,220 points. Meyer's economic task-force, led by Tom James, came to the decision that they had to bail out three banks. Meyer bailed out Janders Capital because they were based in Illinois, a crucial state in the upcoming congressional presidential vote. Having to choose between Paulsten-Berheim and E.M. Wheelright (Baird's bank), Meyer hesitated to make a decision. Meyer was frightful of the appearance of bailing out a cohort's bank, even though bailing out Wheelright would be a better decision for the economy. On December 11, E.M. Wheelright entered chapter 11 bankruptcy. This ended Baird's and Meyer's relationship. On December 12, the Dow Jones began to recover.

New Hampshire congressional election[edit | edit source]

See also: 2016 New Hampshire special congressional election

On November 24, representative from New Hampshire's 2nd district Harry Sherman died due to salmonella poisoning. A special election was scheduled for December 21. The death of Sherman, a staunch O'Brien supporter, put the affiliation of the New Hampshire delegation in play. Jonah Ryan, a staffer in the Meyer administration, ran against Sherman's widow, Judy Sherman.

The special election received a great deal of coverage as the election foreshadowed a close congressional vote to decide the presidency. On the campaign trail, Ryan was highly critical of President Meyer. Ryan also received last-minute support from the National Rifle Association. Despite Ryan's many campaign gaffes, he defeated Judy Sherman in the election was sworn-in on January 2, 2017. The next day, in the contingent election, Ryan casted the swing vote denying O'Brien the presidency.

2017 contingent election[edit | edit source]

House of Representatives presidential vote[edit | edit source]

The House of Representatives presidential vote was held on January 3, 2017, following the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment to elect the president between candidates Selina Meyer and Bill O'Brien. Notably, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Vermont abstained from the vote, in an effort to prevent any candidate from achieving 26 votes.

Neither O'Brien nor Meyer received a majority of the vote. On January 5, House Speaker Jim Marwood declared that the House of Representatives would not convene again to decide the presidency.

2017 contingent United States presidential election
January 3, 2017
Candidate Votes %
Bill O'Brien 25 50%
Selina Meyer 22 44%
Abstention 3 6%
Total votes 50 100%
Votes necessary 26 >50%
States delegations voting for:
O’Brien Meyer Abstaining

Alaska Alaska
Arizona Arizona
Arkansas Arkansas
Georgia Georgia
Hawaii Hawaii
Idaho Idaho
Indiana Indiana
Iowa Iowa
Kansas Kansas
Kentucky Kentucky
Louisiana Louisiana
Mississippi Mississippi
Nebraska Nebraska
New Mexico New Mexico
North Carolina North Carolina
North Dakota North Dakota
Oklahoma Oklahoma
Oregon Oregon
South Carolina South Carolina
South Dakota South Dakota
Texas Texas
Virginia Virginia
Washington Washington
West Virginia West Virginia
Wyoming Wyoming

Alabama Alabama
California California
Colorado Colorado
Connecticut Connecticut
Delaware Delaware
Florida Florida
Illinois Illinois
Maine Maine
Maryland Maryland
Massachusetts Massachusetts
Michigan Michigan
Minnesota Minnesota
Montana Montana
Nevada Nevada
New Hampshire New Hampshire
New Jersey New Jersey
New York New York
Ohio Ohio
Rhode Island Rhode Island
Tennessee Tennessee
Utah Utah
Wisconsin Wisconsin

Missouri Missouri
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Vermont Vermont

Source: [1]

Senate vice presidential vote[edit | edit source]

The Senate vice presidential vote was held on January 5, 2017 between Meyer's running mate Senator Tom James and O'Brien's running mate Senator Laura Montez. Because the House of Representatives had failed to elect a president and refused to convene again, there was added weight to the importance of the vote in the Senate.

James was widely favored to win the vote prior to its occurrence. However, when the Senate convened to vote, it ended up being closer than expected. Once all the Senators cast their votes, the result was a 50-50 tie. The tie was broken by Senate President and Vice President Andrew Doyle, who broke party lines by electing Montez. Doyle's election of Montez was an act of revenge against Meyer, after discovering that Meyer promised Paul Graves the Secretary of State position she promised Doyle.

Montez, despite technically being vice president-elect, was unofficially considered the president-elect, due to the presidential vacancy stemming from the House vote. Montez immediately ascended to the presidency upon taking the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

2017 contingent United States vice presidential election
January 5, 2017
Candidate Votes
Laura Montez 51
Tom James 50
Senators voting for:
Montez James

46 other senators
Andrew Doyle[1]

48 other senators

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Following the contingent election, Montez participated in a press conference where she stated that O'Brien is supportive of her presidency. President Meyer, conversely, did not take the election loss well. After leaving office, she was briefly institutionalized at the Whispering Sands Wellness Center in Sedona, Arizona, before relocating to New York City later in 2017.

The pain of defeat for Meyer was made worse when Inauguration Day coincided with the independence of Tibet. Credit of Tibet's newfound self-determination was given to the Montez administration. Details outlining Meyer's extensive involvement in Tibet's liberation were leaked in October 2018 after the diary of Meyer staffer Mike McLintock fell into the hands of reporter Leon West. The positive press resulting from the leak inspired Meyer to run against Montez in the 2020 presidential election. Meyer successfully defeated Montez and became the second president to serve two non-consecutive terms as president.

The events of the contingent election, specifically the House deadlock and Montez's ascension, are not consistent with the Constitution, which only allows the VP-elect to serve temporarily as president until the House settles on a final winner. This implies the House would have to keep voting until someone emerges with a majority--whether or not the Speaker feels like holding another vote.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Vice presidential tie-break vote.

See also[edit | edit source]

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