California gubernatorial election, 1978

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California gubernatorial election, 1978
California
1974 ←
November 7, 1978 → 1982

  Jerry Brown 1978 cropped.jpg
Nominee Jerry Brown Evelle J. Younger Ed Clark
Party Democratic Republican Independent
Popular vote 3,878,812 2,526,534 377,960
Percentage 56.05 36.50 5.46

CA1978Gov.svg

Election results by county

Governor before election

Jerry Brown
Democratic

Elected Governor

Jerry Brown
Democratic

The 1978 California gubernatorial election occurred on November 7, 1978. The Democratic incumbent, Jerry Brown, defeated the Republican nominee, Attorney General Evelle J. Younger, in a landslide.

Primary election summary[edit]

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, California Attorney General Evelle Younger (who was the only Republican elected to a statewide office in the post-Watergate Democratic onslaught in the 1974 California general election) defeated Ed Davis (State Senator and former Los Angeles Police Chief), Ken Maddy (State Senate Minority Leader from Fresno), and Pete Wilson (Mayor of San Diego). Incumbent Jerry Brown had only minor opposition in the Democratic Primary. The most newsworthy battle in this primary election was Proposition 13, the initiative authored by Howard Jarvis which sought to drastically reduce property taxes and change the way property taxes were calculated. Younger and most Republicans supported Proposition 13 while Brown and most Democrats opposed it. The initiative passed with 64.8% of the vote; it is still in effect, and many other states passed similar laws.

Primary Election-Republican June 6, 1978

Candidate Party Votes %
Evelle J. Younger Republican 1,008,087 41.0
Edward M. Davis Republican 738,087 30.0
Kenneth Maddy Republican 484,583 19.7
Pete Wilson Republican 230,146 9.3

Primary Election-Democratic June 6, 1978

Candidate Party Votes %
Jerry Brown(i) Democrat 2,567,067 77.5
David Rock Democrat 132,706 4.0
John Hancock Abbott Democrat 127,506 3.9
Others Democrat 357,245 14.6

General election[edit]

What followed in the general election was one of the most remarkable turnarounds in California election history. Younger attempted to seize the momentum from his support and passage of Proposition 13, but was a drab speaker, dull campaigner, and lacked an effective organization. In addition, the tough primary battle left him short of money. On the other hand, Brown, who opposed Proposition 13, used the power of incumbency and announced "the people have spoken, and as Governor I will diligently enforce their will." Thus Brown turned a negative into a positive. In addition, since he was relatively unchallenged in the primary, he had a much bigger campaign war chest. Brown ultimately won reelection in a landslide.

1978 gubernatorial election, California
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jerry Brown (Incumbent) 3,878,812 56.05%
Republican Evelle J. Younger 2,526,534 36.50%
Independent Ed Clark 377,960 5.46%
Peace and Freedom Marilyn Seals 70,864 1.02%
American Independent Theresa F. "Tena" Dietrich 67,103 0.97%
Totals 6,921,273 100.00%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold

Results by county[edit]

County Brown Votes Younger Votes Clark Votes Others Votes
San Francisco 69.46% 156,601 22.81% 51,429 5.13% 11,577 2.60% 5,858
Alameda 63.81% 217,746 25.97% 88,619 7.13% 24,336 3.08% 10,516
Santa Clara 61.35% 227,493 29.79% 110,444 6.89% 25,550 1.97% 7,296
Santa Cruz 60.85% 40,490 31.11% 20,698 5.21% 3,470 2.83% 1,882
Yolo 59.39% 24,357 30.97% 12,703 7.47% 3,064 2.17% 891
Solano 58.05% 34,513 33.94% 20,176 6.17% 3,670 1.84% 1,093
San Diego 57.49% 316,223 35.85% 197,167 4.72% 25,964 1.94% 10,653
Los Angeles 57.34% 1,178,368 36.23% 744,491 4.56% 93,692 1.87% 38,461
Santa Barbara 56.68% 59,933 36.56% 38,656 4.50% 4,763 2.25% 2,379
San Mateo 56.18% 113,402 34.25% 69,131 7.47% 15,072 2.10% 4,243
Marin 55.75% 49,759 33.49% 29,888 8.61% 7,683 2.16% 1,925
Fresno 55.67% 71,657 39.58% 50,950 2.84% 3,653 1.91% 2,459
Merced 55.62% 16,825 40.21% 12,165 2.50% 756 1.67% 505
Stanislaus 55.62% 36,676 38.29% 25,247 3.85% 2,539 2.25% 1,481
Plumas 55.48% 3,599 39.17% 2,541 3.21% 208 2.14% 139
Shasta 55.26% 19,432 36.11% 12,698 6.42% 2,256 2.21% 777
Sacramento 54.91% 139,821 34.74% 88,445 8.30% 21,137 2.05% 5,211
Yuba 54.84% 6,434 37.52% 4,402 5.75% 675 1.88% 221
Sonoma 54.29% 56,920 35.85% 37,584 7.16% 7,506 2.70% 2,836
Contra Costa 54.27% 122,565 35.79% 80,821 7.97% 17,989 1.97% 4,458
Riverside 54.23% 101,377 40.42% 75,564 3.74% 6,982 1.61% 3,007
Mendocino 54.14% 11,877 36.09% 7,916 6.57% 1,442 3.20% 702
San Bernardino 54.01% 115,082 40.66% 86,638 3.36% 7,151 1.98% 4,224
Kings 53.84% 8,794 42.49% 6,940 1.72% 281 1.96% 320
Mariposa 53.02% 2,361 39.84% 1,774 4.76% 212 2.38% 106
Lake 52.87% 6,670 39.72% 5,012 5.16% 651 2.25% 284
Ventura 52.78% 75,173 40.57% 57,777 4.86% 6,916 1.80% 2,557
Alpine 52.74% 202 39.43% 151 4.70% 18 3.13% 12
Monterey 52.35% 34,649 41.07% 27,180 4.95% 3,278 1.63% 1,080
Madera 52.17% 7,529 43.16% 6,230 2.87% 414 1.80% 260
San Joaquin 52.17% 49,169 41.84% 39,425 4.31% 4,063 1.68% 1,582
San Luis Obispo 51.20% 25,695 43.22% 21,689 3.53% 1,772 2.05% 1,030
Placer 51.12% 20,384 39.03% 15,563 8.38% 3,342 1.48% 589
Siskiyou 51.11% 6,851 42.88% 5,747 3.71% 497 2.31% 309
Tuolumne 51.09% 6,772 43.44% 5,757 3.61% 478 1.86% 247
Napa 50.53% 19,202 41.11% 15,621 6.48% 2,461 1.89% 717
Trinity 50.39% 2,215 40.24% 1,769 6.78% 298 2.59% 114
Humboldt 50.37% 21,243 39.49% 16,658 6.60% 2,783 3.54% 1,494
Lassen 50.34% 3,377 42.47% 2,849 4.83% 324 2.37% 159
Tehama 50.25% 5,986 41.99% 5,002 5.33% 635 2.43% 289
Amador 49.65% 4,144 42.34% 3,534 5.71% 477 2.30% 192
Butte 49.65% 26,051 42.20% 22,142 5.79% 3,038 2.37% 1,243
Sierra 49.45% 725 43.93% 644 4.84% 71 1.77% 26
San Benito 49.23% 2,805 42.31% 2,411 6.12% 349 2.33% 133
Calaveras 48.74% 4,019 44.76% 3,691 4.57% 377 1.93% 159
Orange 48.68% 299,577 44.21% 272,076 5.67% 34,903 1.43% 8,821
El Dorado 48.35% 13,832 42.60% 12,187 6.36% 1,819 2.69% 771
Kern 47.71% 49,144 40.32% 41,531 10.25% 10,560 1.71% 1,760
Tulare 46.80% 24,989 48.95% 26,136 2.48% 1,322 1.78% 949
Imperial 46.05% 8,385 47.39% 8,629 4.78% 870 1.78% 324
Nevada 45.36% 9,016 42.09% 8,365 11.25% 2,236 1.30% 259
Colusa 45.01% 1,958 46.09% 2,005 7.22% 314 1.68% 73
Mono 44.82% 1,042 50.06% 1,164 3.27% 76 1.85% 43
Sutter 44.09% 6,357 47.65% 6,871 6.96% 1,003 1.30% 188
Glenn 42.98% 3,120 48.51% 3,521 6.12% 444 2.40% 174
Del Norte 41.73% 2,451 49.93% 2,933 3.20% 188 5.14% 302
Modoc 40.28% 1,235 52.71% 1,616 4.47% 137 2.54% 78
Inyo 39.53% 2,540 55.42% 3,561 3.39% 218 1.65% 106

References[edit]