Kennedy defeated Eisenhower’s vice president Richard M. Nixon to win the presidency. Nixon’s running mate was none other than Kennedy’s former senatorial opponent Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. Kennedy won the nomination with an electoral vote margin of 303 to 219. The popular vote was razor-thin, with Kennedy carrying 49.7 percent of the vote to 49.5 percent for Nixon. Kennedy had been helped in the election by a series of television debates between the two candidates. Nixon had hammered on Kennedy’s youth and lack of experience, but Kennedy came off quite well on television.