Alabama gubernatorial election, 1970

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The Alabama gubernatorial election of 1970 was marked by very hard Democratic primary battle between incumbent moderate Governor Albert Brewer and segregationist former Governor and 1968 independent presidential candidate George Wallace.

Democratic Party primary[edit]

Candidates

Despite Wallace's popularity, Brewer was early seen as a front-runner. Brewer, a state Lieutenant Governor, had become Governor after death of Governor Lurleen Wallace (George's wife). A moderate, he became the first gubernatorial candidate since Reconstruction to openly court black voters.[1] Brewer, hoping to build a broad alliance between blacks and white working class voters, unveiled a progressive platform and accused Wallace of spending too much time outside the state, saying "Alabama needs a full-time governor.".[2]

Republican President Richard Nixon endorsed Brewer in order to break Wallace's political career and secure Deep South votes for him in the next elections (which could be carried again by Wallace, if he were to run again).

Wallace, whose presidential ambitions would have been destroyed with a defeat, ran on the very aggressive and dirty campaign using racist rhetoric while proposing few ideas of his own.[3] The Wallace campaign aired TV ads with slogans such as "Do you want the black block electing your governor?" and circulated an ad showing a white girl surrounded by seven black boys, with the slogan "Wake Up Alabama! Blacks vow to take over Alabama."[4] Wallace called Brewer a sissy[5] and promised not to run for president a third time.[6]

Primary results[edit]

  • Brewer - 428,146 (41.98%)
  • Wallace - 416,443 (40.84%)
  • Woods - 149,987 (14.71%)
  • Carter - 15,441 (1.51%)
  • Folsom - 4,123 (0.40%)
  • Brown - 2,836 (0.28%)
  • Price - 2,804 (0.28%)

Runoff[edit]

Despite Brewer's victory in primary, he failed to win a majority and was forced into a runoff with Wallace.

  • Wallace - 559,832 (51.56%)
  • Brewer - 525,951 (48.44%)

Despite harsh situation Wallace's political career survived.

General election[edit]

Because at this time every Democratic nominee was regarded as a safe (Alabama was in fact one-party state), Wallace enjoyed easy victory.

The Republican Party didn't join the race.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rogers, William Warren, et al. Alabama: The History of a Deep South State. Tuscaloosa; The University of Alabama Press, 1994, 576.
  2. ^ http://www.steveflowers.us/columns/101205.htm Flowers, Steve, "Steve Flowers Inside the Statehouse", October 12, 2005
  3. ^ Warren, 576
  4. ^ http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/060305/wallace.shtml Rawls, Phillip, "Book Rates George Wallace's '70 campaign as the nastiest", Decatur Daily, March 5, 2006
  5. ^ Rawls, March 5, 2005
  6. ^ Flowers, 2005