Wilson could not have chosen a better year to run for President. The 1912 Presidential election was a race among four candidates: Governor Wilson on the Democratic ticket, incumbent President William Howard Taft with the Republican nomination, former President Theodore Roosevelt for the new Progressive "Bull Moose" Party, and Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party candidate. Although Debs did not provide any serious competition, and Taft's bungled term as President had already ruined his chance of being reelected, Roosevelt was a real threat. Roosevelt had already served almost two full terms as a Republican President from 1901 to 1908 and had established himself as the most powerful progressive in the nation. Moreover, the public adored him for his adventurous spirit and no-nonsense attitude.
On the other hand, Taft and Roosevelt were embroiled in a bitter feud during the campaign–a particularly nasty and brutal feud that was splashed on the front pages of newspapers throughout the year. Consequently, after a year of dueling, the two men literally split the Republican Party in two, the conservatives siding with Taft and the progressives aligning with Roosevelt. This split weakened the party and paved the way to victory for Wilson. He easily defeated his three opponents in the Electoral College, his 435 votes easily topping Roosevelt's eighty-eight, Taft's eight, and Debs's zero. Wilson was inaugurated twenty-eighth President of the United States on March 4, 1913.