California gubernatorial election, 1962

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

  Gov. Pat Brown.jpg Richard Nixon, official bw photo, head and shoulders.jpg
Nominee Pat Brown Richard Nixon
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 3,037,109 2,740,351
Percentage 51.94% 46.87%

CA1962Gov.svg

Election results by county

Governor before election

Pat Brown
Democratic

Elected Governor

Pat Brown
Democratic

The California gubernatorial election, 1962 was held on November 6, 1962. The Democratic incumbent, Pat Brown, ran for re-election against former Vice President Richard Nixon. In his concession speech, Nixon accused the media of favoring his opponent Brown, famously stating it was his "last press conference" and "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more."[1] Six years later, Nixon would go on to be elected President of the United States.

Election background[edit]

Edmund G. (Pat) Brown Sr. was a relatively popular Democratic governor in California who was first elected in 1958.[2] At the time, California was generally considered a Republican stronghold, with Republican governors and senators from the end of World War II until the election of Democrat Clair Engle to the Senate in 1958, and Brown's election as governor the same year. The state voted for Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956, and Nixon carried the state over John F. Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential election.

In 1962, with popular incumbent Senator Thomas Kuchel a shoo-in for re-election, the Republican Party felt it could also gain the governorship and win the state back from the Democrats. They turned to former California Senator and Vice President Richard Nixon, the biggest name at the time in the California Republican Party. Having been elected Senator in 1950 and carrying the state against Kennedy in 1960, they also felt a convincing win could be a springboard for Nixon to challenge Kennedy again in 1964, since he narrowly lost to him in 1960.[3] However, the conservative Joe Shell challenged Nixon in the primary, and received support from the John Birch Society. Although Nixon beat Shell in the primary, 1,285,151 votes (65.4 percent) to Shell's 656,542 (33.4 percent), the contest was bitter, and Nixon did not reach out to conservative Shell supporters, which weakened him in the general election.[4]

In a bitter and expensive campaign, Brown and Nixon campaigned with great zeal and effort. Nixon had a lead in the polls early on, but Brown chipped away at his lead. Still, come election day, Nixon was favored to win a relatively close election. But Brown not only won, but by a surprising 5%. A stunned and frustrated Nixon announced he was retiring from politics.

General election results[edit]

1962 gubernatorial election, California
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Pat Brown 3,037,109 51.94%
Republican Richard Nixon 2,740,351 46.87%
Prohibition Robert L. Wyckoff 69,700 1.19%
Invalid or blank votes 82,442 1.39%
Totals 5,929,602 100.00%
Voter turnout 57.50%
Democratic hold

Results by county[edit]

County Brown Votes Nixon Votes Wyckoff Votes
Plumas 66.44% 3,397 31.76% 1,624 1.80% 92
Trinity 64.58% 2,201 33.69% 1,148 1.73% 59
Solano 64.31% 25,987 34.37% 13,888 1.32% 532
Shasta 63.97% 14,753 34.07% 7,858 1.96% 453
Lassen 62.50% 3,500 35.14% 1,968 2.36% 132
San Francisco 62.19% 180,298 36.96% 107,165 0.85% 2,455
Sacramento 60.69% 115,462 37.74% 71,788 1.57% 2,988
Yolo 60.67% 13,334 37.82% 8,311 1.51% 332
Madera 60.46% 7,728 38.36% 4,903 1.19% 152
Placer 59.98% 13,592 38.29% 8,677 1.72% 390
Siskiyou 59.98% 7,718 38.41% 4,942 1.62% 208
Kings 59.03% 9,141 39.48% 6,113 1.49% 231
Amador 58.16% 2,811 40.16% 1,941 1.68% 81
Alameda 57.98% 206,861 40.88% 145,851 1.13% 4,038
Sierra 57.98% 676 39.54% 461 2.49% 29
Fresno 57.78% 68,187 40.85% 48,211 1.37% 1,615
Merced 57.62% 14,105 41.14% 10,071 1.23% 302
El Dorado 56.25% 6,572 41.44% 4,842 2.30% 269
Contra Costa 55.49% 91,150 43.34% 71,192 1.18% 1,935
Yuba 53.77% 5,028 44.74% 4,184 1.49% 139
Stanislaus 53.64% 30,431 44.80% 25,417 1.57% 888
Napa 53.50% 14,748 44.72% 12,326 1.78% 490
Ventura 53.46% 37,777 45.15% 31,899 1.39% 982
San Luis Obispo 52.86% 16,110 45.36% 13,825 1.78% 543
Tuolumne 52.48% 3,631 46.06% 3,187 1.46% 101
Humboldt 52.19% 17,739 46.22% 15,708 1.59% 540
Kern 52.10% 48,737 46.33% 43,342 1.57% 1,471
Colusa 52.06% 2,320 46.14% 2,056 1.80% 80
Del Norte 51.97% 2,741 45.85% 2,418 2.18% 115
San Mateo 51.88% 90,464 47.09% 82,115 1.03% 1,797
Los Angeles 51.83% 1,191,724 46.98% 1,080,113 1.19% 27,445
Modoc 51.73% 1,641 46.44% 1,473 1.83% 58
San Bernardino 51.68% 88,437 46.78% 80,054 1.54% 2,634
Mendocino 51.50% 8,704 46.96% 7,936 1.54% 261
Tehama 51.36% 5,077 46.44% 4,591 2.21% 218
Santa Clara 51.20% 121,149 47.63% 112,700 1.18% 2,783
Nevada 51.02% 4,818 47.12% 4,450 1.85% 175
San Joaquin 49.40% 43,276 49.25% 43,147 1.34% 1,178
Sonoma 49.19% 29,373 49.65% 29,647 1.17% 696
Tulare 49.08% 24,598 49.71% 24,914 1.21% 608
Glenn 48.70% 3,299 49.50% 3,353 1.80% 122
San Benito 48.30% 2,527 50.46% 2,640 1.24% 65
Butte 47.74% 16,142 50.79% 17,172 1.47% 497
Mariposa 47.50% 1,272 50.37% 1,349 2.13% 57
Santa Barbara 47.50% 30,424 51.24% 32,821 1.26% 807
Inyo 47.00% 2,526 50.99% 2,740 2.01% 108
Riverside 46.60% 50,257 51.86% 55,926 1.54% 1,666
Monterey 46.52% 24,801 52.52% 28,000 0.96% 512
Calaveras 46.37% 2,379 51.75% 2,655 1.87% 96
Marin 45.38% 27,664 53.67% 32,720 0.95% 582
Santa Cruz 44.93% 17,354 53.28% 20,580 1.79% 690
Lake 44.42% 3,315 54.15% 4,041 1.43% 107
Imperial 44.14% 8,241 55.01% 10,271 0.85% 158
San Diego 42.40% 153,389 55.83% 201,969 1.77% 6,416
Sutter 41.19% 4,816 57.59% 6,734 1.21% 142
Orange 39.16% 112,152 59.35% 169,962 1.49% 4,263
Mono 36.12% 488 62.18% 840 1.70% 23
Alpine 34.72% 67 63.21% 122 2.07% 4

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matthews, Christopher J (1997). Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America. Free Press. pp. 215–218. ISBN 978-0-684-83246-3. 
  2. ^ Lawrence, David G (2009). California: The Politics of Diversity. Wadsworth Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-495-57097-4. 
  3. ^ Starr, Kevin (2009). Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963. Oxford University Press. pp. 215–216. ISBN 978-0-19-515377-4. 
  4. ^ Perlstein, Rick (2002). Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus.