1946 South Carolina gubernatorial election

The 1946 South Carolina gubernatorial election was held on November 5, 1946 to select the governor of the state of South Carolina. Strom Thurmond won the contested Democratic primary and ran unopposed in the general election becoming the 103rd governor of South Carolina.

1946 South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial primary runoff

← 1942 September 3, 1946 1950 →
  Strom Thurmond Govelect (1).jpg 3x4.svg
Nominee Strom Thurmond James C. McLeod
Party Democratic Democratic
Popular vote 144,420 109,169
Percentage 57.0% 43.0%

Governor before election

Ransome Williams

Elected Governor

Strom Thurmond

Democratic primaryEdit

The South Carolina Democratic Party held their primary for governor in the summer of 1946 and ten candidates entered the contest. The race featured Governor Ransome Judson Williams, who became governor in 1945 upon the resignation of Olin D. Johnston, but it mainly became a contest between Strom Thurmond and James McLeod. Strom Thurmond was a World War II veteran and advocated a progressive platform whereas, James McLeod, a physician from Florence County, had the support of the "Barnwell Ring" and sought to maintain the status quo. Race was not an issue in the campaign and Strom Thurmond emerged victorious with the support of the returning veterans of World War II who wanted to reform South Carolina.

Democratic Primary
Candidate Votes %
Strom Thurmond 96,691 33.4
James C. McLeod 83,464 28.9
Ransome Judson Williams 35,813 12.4
John C. Taylor 22,447 7.8
Dell O'Neal 16,574 5.7
John D. Long 16,503 5.7
Carl B. Epps 5,189 1.8
Marcus A. Stone 4,353 1.5
A.L. Wood 3,040 1.0
Archie J. Beattie 2,889 1.0
Roger W. Scott 2,251 0.8
Democratic Primary Runoff
Candidate Votes % ±%
Strom Thurmond 144,420 57.0 +23.6
James C. McLeod 109,169 43.0 +14.1

General electionEdit

The general election was held on November 5, 1946 and Strom Thurmond was elected the next governor of South Carolina without opposition on account of South Carolina's effective status as a one-party state. Being a non-presidential election and with few contested races, turnout was much lower than in the Democratic primary election.

South Carolina Gubernatorial Election, 1946
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Strom Thurmond 26,520 100.0 0.0
Majority 26,520 100.0 0.0
Turnout 26,520
Democratic hold
  65+% won by Thurmond

See alsoEdit


  • Edgar, Walter (1998). South Carolina A History. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 1-57003-255-6.
  • Jordan, Frank E. The Primary State: A History of the Democratic Party in South Carolina, 1876–1962. pp. 44–46.
  • "Supplemental Report of the Secretary of State to the General Assembly of South Carolina." Reports and Resolutions of South Carolina to the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina. Volume I. Columbia, South Carolina: 1947, p. 10.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
South Carolina gubernatorial elections Succeeded by