The United States presidential election of 1960 marked the end of Dwight D. Eisenhower's two terms as President. Eisenhower's Vice President, Richard Nixon, who had transformed his office into a national political base, was the Republican candidate, whereas the Democrats nominated Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy.
The electoral vote was the closest in any presidential election since 1916. In the popular vote, Kennedy's margin of victory was among the closest ever in American history. The 1960 election also remains a source of debate among some historians as to whether vote theft in selected states aided Kennedy's victory. Virginian Senator Harry F. Byrd received 15 electoral votes from 14 Southern and one Oklahoma unpledged and faithless electors, respectively.
This was the first presidential election in which Alaska and Hawaii participated, having been granted statehood, respectively, on January 3 and August 21 of the previous year. It was also the first election in which both candidates for president were born in the 20th century.