The presidential campaign dominated the news throughout the year, from the well-received eastern lecture tour of Illinois Republican Abraham Lincoln in February to the contentious party conventions in the spring to the bitter four-way contest in the fall. Major candidates included Lincoln, Senator Stephen A. Douglas (Northern Democrats), Vice-President John Breckinridge (Southern Democrats), and former senator John Bell (Constitutional Unionists). Faced with four strong choices, eligible voters turned out in record numbers; over 80 percent went to the polls in November. Lincoln and the Republicans secured an electoral majority, but only managed about 40 percent of the total popular vote, receiving no electoral votes outside of the North. The sectional divisions could not have appeared deeper and thus few were surprised when South Carolina adopted a secession ordinance produced by a select committee led by attorney John A. Inglis (Class of 1829).