1954 Georgia gubernatorial election

The 1954 Georgia gubernatorial election was held on November 2, 1954.

1954 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary

← 1950 September 8, 1954 1958 →

410 county unit votes
206 unit votes needed to win
Nominee Marvin Griffin Melvin E. Thompson Tom Linder
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Electoral vote 302 56 26
Popular vote 234,690 162,007 87,240
Percentage 36.32% 25.07% 13.50%

Nominee Frederick Barrow Hand Charlie Gowen
Party Democratic Democratic
Electoral vote 22 4
Popular vote 78,125 73,809
Percentage 12.09% 11.42%

County results
Griffin:      20-30%      30-40%      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%
Thompson:      30-40%      40-50%      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%
Linder:      30-40%      40-50%      50-60%      60–70%
Hand:      20-30%      30-40%      40-50%      80-90%
Gowen:      80-90%

Governor before election

Herman Talmadge

Elected Governor

Marvin Griffin

Lieutenant Governor Marvin Griffin won the Democratic primary on September 8 with 36.52% of the vote and 302 out of 410 county unit votes. At this time, Georgia was a one-party state, and the Democratic nomination was tantamount to victory. Griffin won the November general election without an opponent.

This was the final of Melvin Thompson's three failed bids for Governor.

Democratic primary edit

County unit system edit

From 1917 until 1962, the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Georgia used a voting system called the county unit system to determine victors in statewide primary elections.[1]

The system was ostensibly designed to function similarly to the Electoral College, but in practice the large ratio of unit votes for small, rural counties to unit votes for more populous urban areas provided outsized political influence to the smaller counties.[2][3]

Under the county unit system, the 159 counties in Georgia were divided by population into three categories. The largest eight counties were classified as "Urban", the next-largest 30 counties were classified as "Town", and the remaining 121 counties were classified as "Rural". Urban counties were given 6 unit votes, Town counties were given 4 unit votes, and Rural counties were given 2 unit votes, for a total of 410 available unit votes. Each county's unit votes were awarded on a winner-take-all basis.[2][3]

Candidates were required to obtain a majority of unit votes (not necessarily a majority of the popular vote), or 206 total unit votes, to win the election. If no candidate received a majority in the initial primary, a runoff election was held between the top two candidates to determine a winner.[4]

Candidates edit

Results edit

CandidatePopular voteCounty unit vote
Marvin Griffin234,69036.3230273.66
Melvin Thompson162,00725.075613.66
Tom Linder87,24013.50266.34
Frederick Barrow Hand78,12512.09225.37
Charlie Gowen73,80911.4240.98
Grace Wilkey Thomas6,2850.97
Ben Garland2,8470.44
Edmond Barfield7470.12
Arthur H. Neeson4850.08
Source: [5]

General election edit

Results edit

Georgia gubernatorial election, 1954[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Marvin Griffin 331,899 99.98%
N/A write-ins 67 0.02%
Majority 331,832 99.96
Turnout 331,966
Democratic hold Swing

References edit

  1. ^ "County Unit System". Georgia County Clerks Association. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Eugene Talmadge". The Jim Crow Encyclopedia. The African American Experience. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "County Unit System, eh?". Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. October 6, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Buchanan, Scott (June 13, 2017). "County Unit System". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Our Campaigns - GA Governor - D Primary Race - Sep 08, 1954".
  6. ^ "Our Campaigns - GA Governor Race - Nov 02, 1954".