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1968 United States gubernatorial elections

United States gubernatorial elections were held on 5 November 1968, in 21 states and one territory, concurrent with the House, Senate elections and presidential election. These were the last gubernatorial elections for Arizona, New Mexico, and Wisconsin to take place in a presidential election year, as all would extend their governors' terms from two to four years.

1968 United States gubernatorial elections

← 1967 November 5, 1968 1969 →

22 governorships
21 states; 1 territory
  Majority party Minority party
Party Republican Democratic
Last election 26 governorships 24 governorships
Seats before 26 24
Seats after 31 19
Seat change Increase5 Decrease5

1968 Gubernatorial election map.svg
  Democratic holds
  Democratic pickups
  Republican holds
  Republican pickups


Jack Richard Williams won re-election against Samuel Pearson Goddard, Jr., in a "rematch" election, in which Goddard was trying to get his old job back. This was basically a repeat of the 1966 Arizona governor's race, with Williams winning.[1]


Rockefeller had already made his mark in 1966, when he was elected as the first Republican governor since 1872 and having the black vote to boot, not to mention challenging the Faubus empire two years before in 1964. Getting re-elected in 1968 was good, but things for Rockefeller went downhill from there.[2]


Terry not wanting to take the National Guard out of the black communities in Wilmington played a factor in his defeat, not to mention that Peterson had made it.[clarification needed] Peterson would go on to be a legend in Delaware politics in a short time, mainly for his "green" politics.[3]


Samuel H. Shapiro was governor temporarily after Otto Kerner, Jr. resigned to take a job in the federal appellate court.[4] Shapiro lost the race to get his own full term. Kerner, would become famous for two things: being the head of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, aka the Kerner Commission, and going to jail over various charges stemming from being a stockholder in a racetrack business.[5]


Indiana changed its laws so that governors could have two back-to-back four-year terms in November 1972.[6] Thus, Branigin was not eligible for a second term.


Harold Hughes resigned on January 1, 1969, to run for the Senate.[7] Robert D. Fulton would serve as governor from January 1 to January 16, 1969, when the new Governor, Robert D. Ray took office.[8] Ray would go on to a political career,[9] while Hughes, inspired by his own battles with alcoholism, made drug/alcohol abuse his focus in the Senate, and later left politics to open an alcoholism treatment center and to do religious work.[10]


Docking won re-election. Ultimately, he would set a record by winning four two-year terms.[11] Kansas operated on governors serving two-year terms until 1974, when a constitutional amendment was added, creating a four-year term system.[12]


In Missouri, during Hearnes' term, the laws were changed so that governors were allowed two back-to-back four-year terms.[13] Thus, by 1968, Hearnes was eligible for another term.


Tim Babcock became governor in January 1962 after his predecessor, Governor Donald Nutter, was killed in a plane crash.[14][15] Babcock won a full term in the 1964 gubernatorial election.[16]

New HampshireEdit

King might have run for another term had the 1968 presidential election not gotten in his way. He was an avid President Lyndon B. Johnson supporter, and a "hawk" on Vietnam. So, when Senator Eugene McCarthy dropped into New Hampshire, King didn't hold back, but his attacks didn't work. President Johnson dropped out to[clarification needed] the presidential race, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey joined the race as a result and asked King to run for the Senate. King did, but lost to Republican Norris Cotton.[17]

New MexicoEdit

Cargo was re-elected in 1968. Being term-limited in 1970 (see United States gubernatorial elections, 1970), he tried running for other offices, but "Lonesome Dave" never won again.[18]

North CarolinaEdit

In North Carolina, governors were not allowed two consecutive terms until 1977.[19]

North DakotaEdit

Governors served two-year terms until 1964, when a constitutional amendment changed it to a four-year term.[20]

West VirginiaEdit

In 1970, during Arch Moore's term, an amendment to the West Virginia constitution allowed governors to serve two consecutive terms.[21] Thus, Hulett Smith was not eligible for a second term.


State Incumbent Party Status Opposing candidates
Arizona Jack Richard Williams Republican Re-elected, 57.84% Samuel Pearson Goddard, Jr. (Democratic) 42.16%[22]
Arkansas Winthrop Rockefeller Republican Re-elected, 52.43% Marion Crank (Democratic) 47.57%[23]
Delaware Charles L. Terry, Jr. Democratic Defeated, 49.49% Russell W. Peterson (Republican) 50.51%[24]
Illinois Samuel H. Shapiro Democratic Lost election to get his own term, 48.37% Richard B. Ogilvie (Republican) 51.21%
Edward C. Gross (Socialist Labor) 0.43%[25]
Indiana Roger D. Branigin Democratic Term-limited, Republican victory Edgar Whitcomb (Republican) 52.72%
Robert L. Rock (Democratic) 47.13%
Melvin E. Hawk (Prohibition) 0.15%[26]
Iowa Harold Hughes Democratic Retired to run for the Senate,[27] Republican victory Robert D. Ray (Republican) 54.06%
Paul Franzenburg (Democratic) 45.86%
Harry Miller (Prohibition) 0.08%[28]
Kansas Robert Docking Democratic Re-elected, 51.86% Rick Harman (Republican) 47.62%
Marshall Uncapher (Prohibition) 0.53%[29]
Missouri Warren E. Hearnes Democratic Re-elected, 60.80% Lawrence K. Roos (Republican) 39.20%[30]
Montana Tim M. Babcock Republican Defeated, 41.87% Forrest H. Anderson (Democratic) 54.11%
Wayne Montgomery (New Reform) 4.03%[31]
New Hampshire John W. King Democratic Retired, Republican victory Walter R. Peterson, Jr. (Republican) 52.53%
Emile R. Bussiere (Democratic) 47.44%
Others 0.02%[32]
New Mexico David Cargo Republican Re-elected, 50.21% Fabian Chavez, Jr. (Democratic) 49.29%
Jose Maestes (People's Constitutional) 0.48%
Others 0.02%[33]
North Carolina Dan K. Moore Democratic Term-limited, Democratic victory Robert W. Scott (Democratic) 52.70%
James Carson Gardner (Republican) 47.30%[34]
North Dakota William L. Guy Democratic-NPL Re-elected, 54.82% Robert P. McCarney (Republican) 43.70%
Leo Landsberger (Taxpayers Revival Ticket) 1.48%[35]
Rhode Island John Chafee Republican Defeated, 48.98% Frank Licht (Democratic) 51.02%[36]
South Dakota Nils Boe Republican Retired, Republican victory Frank Farrar (Republican) 57.65%
Robert Chamberlin (Democratic) 42.35%[37]
Texas John Connally Democratic Retired, Democratic victory Preston Smith (Democratic) 56.99%
Paul Eggers (Republican) 43.01%[38]
Utah Calvin L. Rampton Democratic Re-elected, 68.71% Carl W. Buehner (Republican) 31.29%[39]
Vermont Philip H. Hoff Democratic Retired, Republican victory Deane C. Davis (Republican) 55.49%
John J. Daley (Democratic) 44.48%[40]
Washington Daniel J. Evans Republican Re-elected, 54.72% John J. O'Connell (Democratic) 44.28%
Ken Chriswell (Conservative) 0.91%
Henry Killman (Socialist Labor) 0.09%[41]
West Virginia Hulett C. Smith Democratic Term-limited, Republican victory Arch A. Moore, Jr. (Republican) 50.86%
James Marshall Sprouse (Democratic) 49.14%[42]
Wisconsin Warren P. Knowles Republican Re-elected, 52.88% Bronson Cutting La Follette (Democratic) 46.82%
Adolf Wiggert (Socialist Labor) 0.19%
Robert Wilkinson (Socialist Workers) 0.11%[43]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "AZ Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Winthrop Rockefeller (1912–1973)". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  3. ^ Doug Donovan. "In Praise of Peterson". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Illinois Governor Samuel H. Shapiro". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  5. ^ "Illinois Governor Otto Kerner". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Article 5. Executive". Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Iowa Governor Harold Everett Hughes". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Iowa Governor Robert David Fulton". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  10. ^ Eric Pace (October 25, 1996). "Harold Hughes, Iowa Trucker Turned Politician, Dies at 74". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Robert Docking". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  12. ^ H. Edward Flentje and Joseph Aistrup (2010). Kansas Politics and Government: The Clash of Political Cultures (Google eBook). University of Nebraska Press. p. 109. ISBN 9780803269194. Retrieved September 3, 2012.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Missouri Governor Warren E. Hearnes". Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  14. ^ "Montana Governor Donald Grant Nutter". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Montana Governor Tim M. Babcock". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  16. ^ "MT Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  17. ^ Robert McG Thomas Jr. (August 14, 1996). "John W. King, 79, Governor Who Instituted State Lottery". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  18. ^ Steve Terrell (5 July 2013). "Former New Mexico Gov. David Cargo dead at 84". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  19. ^ "North Carolina State and Local Government at a Glance" (PDF). Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  20. ^ "Archives – State Agencies – Governor". Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  21. ^ "Governor's Succession Amendment". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  22. ^ "AZ Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  23. ^ "AR Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  24. ^ "DE Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  25. ^ "IL Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  26. ^ "IN Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  27. ^ "HUGHES, Harold Everett, (1922 - 1996)". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  28. ^ "IA Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  29. ^ "KS Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  30. ^ "MO Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  31. ^ "MT Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  32. ^ "NH Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  33. ^ "NM Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  34. ^ "NC Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  35. ^ "ND Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  36. ^ "RI Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  37. ^ "SD Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  38. ^ "TX Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  39. ^ "UT Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  40. ^ "VT Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  41. ^ "WA Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  42. ^ "WV Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  43. ^ "WI Governor". Retrieved 16 August 2013.