Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1974

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Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1974
1970 ←
November 5, 1974 (1974-11-05)
→ 1978

  Dedicating Swarts Hall cropped.JPG Drew lewis.jpg
Candidate Milton Shapp Drew Lewis
Party Democratic Republican
Running mate Ernie Kline Ken Lee
Popular vote 1,878,252 1,578,917
Percentage 53.7% 45.1%

Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Election Results by County, 1974.svg

County results

Governor before election

Milton Shapp

Elected Governor

Milton Shapp

The Pennsylvania gubernational election of 1974 was held on November 5. Incumbent Democratic Governor Milton Shapp defeated Republican Drew Lewis. Under the state's 1968 constitution, Shapp was the first governor who was eligible to run for consecutive terms.

Primary elections[edit]

Incumbent Governor Shapp easily dispelled a spirited challenge from Martin Mullen, a state representative from Philadelphia who was well known as a firebrand conservative opponent of abortion and pornography. With a short Republican bench, wealthy staffing executive Drew Lewis was the only serious contender in the race.

Pennsylvania gubernatorial Democratic primary election, 1974[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Milton Shapp 729,201 70.41%
Democratic Martin Mullen 199,613 19.27%
Democratic Harvey Johnston 106,474 10.28%
Pennsylvania gubernatorial Republican primary election, 1974[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Drew Lewis 534,637 76.67%
Republican Alvin Jacoboson 97,072 13.91%
Republican Leonard Strunk 63,868 9.15%

Major Party Candidates[edit]



  • Drew Lewis, CEO of the staffing company Snelling & Snelling
    • runningmate: Ken Lee, Speaker of the State House of Representatives


Shapp's popularity had waned somewhat since his coasted to victory in 1970; although he could claim to have saved the state from bankruptcy, he did so at the expense of large tax increases. Furthermore, Shapp, an unabashed liberal, had difficulty rekindling support from the state's rural, socially conservative regions. However, Shapp and Democrats as a whole got a huge boost from the Watergate scandal; with President Nixon's popularity in a tailspin, many of the top tier Republicans declined to run. Instead, the party turned to the wealthy businessman Lewis, who was able to project an "outsider" image. Lewis focused on local issues and greatly undercut Shapp in rural areas; despite lagging at the polls in traditional Democratic strongholds such as Pittsburgh and Scranton, Shapp preserved a moderate victory by winning the combined vote of suburban Philadelphia, an almost unthinkable accomplishment at the time.[3]


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1974[4][5]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage
Democratic Milton Shapp Ernie Kline 1,878,252 53.66%
Republican Drew Lewis Ken Lee 1,578,917 45.11%
Constitutional Stephen Depue Ellis Werft 33,691 0.96%
Socialist Workers Roberta Scherr[a] Fred Stanton 8,980 0.26%
Write-ins Write-in 374 0.01%
Totals 3,500,214 100.00%
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 63.31%


a. ^ Scherr, at the time, was only 21 years old and, therefore, ineligible to be governor.[6]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kennedy, John J. (2006). Pennsylvania Elections: Statewide Contests From 1950-2004. University Press of America. ISBN 9780761832799. 
  4. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 626.
  5. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 625.
  6. ^ Ostrosky, Steve (November 1, 1974). "Will Shapp deny Lewis". The Daily Collegian (Pennsylvania State University).