Alabama gubernatorial election, 1962

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Alabama gubernatorial election, 1962
1958 ←
November 6, 1962
→ 1966

  George C Wallace (Alabama Governor).png
Nominee George Wallace Frank P. Walls
Party Democratic Independent
Popular vote 303,987 11,789
Percentage 96.27% 3.73%

Governor of Alabama before election

John Malcolm Patterson

Elected Governor of Alabama

George Wallace

Alabama gubernatorial election, 1962 took place on November 6, 1962.

Democratic Party nomination[edit]

At this time Alabama was de facto one-party state. Every Democratic Party nominee felt safe. The real contest for governor took place during this party's primaries.

Incumbent Governor John M. Patterson was barred from seeking a second consecutive term.


Among three main contenders - Folsom, DeGraffenried and Wallace, the two firsts were considered a progressive or moderate. Folsom, two-term Governor (1947-1951 & 1955-1959) was one of the first Southern chief executives who spoke out in favor of desegregation and voting rights for an African Americans and he frequently feuded from left with a conservative Legislature on a number of issues.[1][2] DeGraffenried also ran as a moderate, especially on the race issues.[3]

Wallace, who lost a close primary to Patterson in 1958, ran that year as a Folsom-style moderate (he was indeed a close Folsom ally), and even accepted official NAACP endorsement, while Patterson ran as a strong segregationist, accepting official Ku Klux Klan endorsement.[4]

After he lost, Wallace however decided to adopt a strong segregationist stance as well in order to secure conservative votes.[5]

In a primary, held on June 3, Wallace finished first but failed to win a majority. Folsom and DeGraffenried split moderate votes and DeGraffenried was the one, who will face Wallace in a runoff. Many believed that a controversial TV appearance, in which he appeared to be seriously drunk, cost Folsom an election.

Primary results:[3]

  • Wallace - 207,062 (32.49%)
  • DeGraffenried - 160,704 (25.22%)
  • Folsom - 159,640 (25.05%)
  • Gallion - 80,374 (12.61%)
  • Connor - 23,019 (3.61%)
  • Henderson - 3,666 (0.58%)
  • Jennings - 1,946 (0.31%)
  • Boutwell - 862 (0.14%)

Wallace defeated DeGraffenried in a runoff, held on June 24:[6]

  • Wallace - 340,730 (55.87%)
  • DeGraffenried - 269,122 (44.13%)

Former Lt. Governor and future U.S. Senator James B. Allen won a nomination for Lieutenant Governor.

Other nominations[edit]

Republican Party did not field a candidate.

Wallace sole rival was an Independent Frank P. Walls (later an Alabama Conservative congressional candidate).

General election[edit]

As expected, Wallace won a crushing landslide:[7]