Nixon entered his name on the New Hampshire primary ballot on January 5, 1972, effectively announcing his candidacy for reelection. Virtually assured the Republican nomination, the President had initially expected his Democratic opponent to be Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy (brother of the late President), but he was largely removed from contention after the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident. Instead, Maine Senator Edmund Muskie became the front runner, with South Dakota Senator George McGovern in a close second place.
On May 24, 1972, Nixon approved a five-year cooperative program between NASA and the Soviet space program, culminating in the 1975 joint mission of an American Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecraft linking in space.
On June 27, 1972, the two incorporated Atari, Inc. and soon hired Al Alcorn as their first design engineer. Bushnell asked Alcorn to produce an arcade version of the Magnavox Odyssey's Tennis game, which would be named Pong.
Nixon was ahead in most polls for the entire election cycle, and was reelected on November 7, 1972 in one of the largest landslide election victories in American history. He defeated McGovern with over 60 percent of the popular vote, losing only in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.