California gubernatorial election, 1966

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California gubernatorial election, 1966
California
1962 ←
November 8, 1966 → 1970

  Ronald Reagan 1969.jpg Gov. Pat Brown.jpg
Nominee Ronald Reagan Pat Brown
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 3,742,913 2,749,174
Percentage 57.65% 42.35%

CA1966Gov.svg

Election results by county

Governor before election

Pat Brown
Democratic

Elected Governor

Ronald Reagan
Republican

The California gubernatorial election, 1966 was held on November 8, 1966. The election was a contest between incumbent Governor Pat Brown, the Democratic candidate, and actor Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate. Reagan mobilized conservative voters and defeated Brown in a landslide.

Primary results[edit]

Democratic[edit]

Candidate # of votes[1]  % of votes
Pat Brown 1,355,262 51.9
Sam Yorty 981,088 37.6
Carlton Benjamin Goodlett 95,476 3.7
Wallace J. Duffy 77,029 3.0
Dale Alexander 43,453 1.7
Ingram W. Goad 18,088 0.7

Republican[edit]

Candidate # of votes[2]  % of votes
Ronald Reagan 1,417,623 64.6
George Christopher 675,683 30.8
Warren Dorn 44,812 2.0
William Penn Patrick 40,887 1.9
Joseph Maxwell 7,052 0.3

Election background[edit]

Incumbent Edmund G. (Pat) Brown had been a relatively popular Democrat in what was, at the time, a Republican leaning state. After his re-election victory over former Vice President Richard Nixon in 1962, Brown was strongly considered for Lyndon Johnson's 1964 ticket, a spot that eventually went to Hubert Humphrey. However, Brown's popularity began to sag amidst the civil disorders of the Watts Riots and the early anti-Vietnam war demonstrations at U.C. Berkeley. His decision to seek a 3rd term as governor (after promising earlier that he would not do so) also hurt his popularity. His diminishing support was evidenced by a tough battle in the Democratic primary - normally not a concern for an incumbent. Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty received 38% of the primary vote while Brown barely received 52%, a very low number for an incumbent in a primary election.

The Republicans seized upon Brown's sudden unpopularity by nominating a well known and charismatic political outsider - actor Ronald Reagan. With Richard Nixon working tirelessly behind the scenes and Reagan trumpeting his law and order campaign message, Reagan received almost 2/3 of the primary vote over George Christopher, the moderate Republican former mayor of San Francisco, and went into the general election with a great deal of momentum. At first Brown ran a low key campaign, declaring that running the state was his biggest priority. As Reagan's lead in the polls increased, however, Brown began to panic and made a gaffe when he told a group of school children that an actor, John Wilkes Booth, had killed Abraham Lincoln.[3] The comparison of Reagan to Booth did not go over well and led to a further decline of the Brown campaign. Come election day, Reagan was ahead in the polls and favored to win a relatively close election. However, Reagan won in a landslide; his nearly 1 million vote plurality surprised even his strongest supporters. Brown won in only three counties: Alameda, Plumas, and San Francisco. He narrowly won Alameda by about 2,000 votes (.5%) and Plumas by about 1,000 votes (1.6%).

General election results[edit]

1966 gubernatorial election, California[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ronald Reagan 3,742,913 57.65%
Democratic Pat Brown (incumbent) 2,749,174 42.35%
Invalid or blank votes 113,779 1.72%
Totals 6,605,866 100.00%
Voter turnout 57.70%
Republican gain from Democratic

Results by county[edit]

County Reagan Votes Brown Votes
Mono 77.84% 1,205 22.16% 343
Orange 72.15% 293,413 27.85% 113,275
Sutter 70.43% 9,828 29.57% 4,126
Calaveras 67.77% 3,810 32.23% 1,812
Butte 67.48% 25,443 32.52% 12,263
Glenn 66.35% 4,676 33.65% 2,371
Inyo 66.19% 3,961 33.81% 2,023
Nevada 65.85% 7,373 34.15% 3,823
Alpine 65.78% 148 34.22% 77
Del Norte 63.99% 3,409 36.01% 1,918
San Diego 63.82% 252,070 36.18% 142,890
Santa Barbara 63.54% 50,284 36.46% 28,853
Lake 63.09% 5,499 36.91% 3,217
El Dorado 63.08% 9,189 36.92% 5,378
Tehama 63.01% 6,629 36.99% 3,891
Imperial 62.87% 12,372 37.13% 7,307
Riverside 62.77% 84,501 37.23% 50,112
Modoc 62.73% 1,946 37.27% 1,156
Kern 62.67% 64,716 37.33% 38,543
San Luis Obispo 62.55% 21,528 37.45% 12,891
Trinity 62.27% 2,050 37.73% 1,242
San Bernardino 62.19% 121,916 37.81% 74,120
Colusa 62.09% 2,806 37.91% 1,713
Mariposa 61.51% 1,811 38.49% 1,133
Santa Cruz 61.47% 26,988 38.53% 16,913
Monterey 61.06% 35,944 38.94% 22,923
San Benito 60.96% 3,565 39.04% 2,283
Ventura 60.94% 58,068 39.06% 37,224
San Joaquin 60.77% 54,647 39.23% 35,281
Sonoma 60.68% 41,516 39.32% 26,898
Yuba 60.52% 6,658 39.48% 4,344
Tulare 59.95% 33,095 40.05% 22,109
Mendocino 59.81% 10,161 40.19% 6,827
Napa 59.53% 17,740 40.47% 12,060
Amador 58.33% 2,985 41.67% 2,132
Tuolumne 58.21% 4,845 41.79% 3,479
Los Angeles 57.26% 1,389,995 42.74% 1,037,663
Marin 57.21% 40,411 42.79% 30,230
Humboldt 57.20% 19,210 42.80% 14,374
Kings 55.79% 9,957 44.21% 7,890
Santa Clara 55.40% 164,970 44.60% 132,793
Sierra 55.27% 650 44.73% 526
Contra Costa 55.13% 107,543 44.87% 87,525
Shasta 54.83% 15,155 45.17% 12,486
Placer 54.61% 14,664 45.39% 12,187
Stanislaus 54.37% 31,473 45.63% 26,418
Siskiyou 54.21% 7,057 45.79% 5,962
Madera 54.18% 7,490 45.82% 6,335
Fresno 53.96% 70,182 46.04% 59,869
Lassen 53.95% 3,190 46.05% 2,723
San Mateo 53.71% 107,498 46.29% 92,654
Merced 53.01% 14,103 46.99% 12,499
Sacramento 50.91% 109,801 49.09% 105,861
Solano 50.15% 23,187 49.85% 23,047
Yolo 50.08% 13,073 49.92% 13,032
Alameda 49.75% 189,055 50.25% 190,968
Plumas 49.18% 2,658 50.82% 2,747
San Francisco 41.11% 114,796 58.89% 164,435

References[edit]

  1. ^ Our Campaigns - CA Governor - D Primary - June 7, 1966
  2. ^ Our Campaigns - CA Governor - R Primary - June 7, 1966
  3. ^ Reagan, Michael; Denney, Jim (2010), The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan's Principles Can Restore America's Greatness, p. 111, ISBN 978-0-312-64454-3 
  4. ^ Our Campaigns - CA Governor Race - November 8, 1966


External links[edit]