Texas gubernatorial election, 1978

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

  Bill Clements.jpg
Nominee Bill Clements John Luke Hill
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,183,828 1,166,919
Percentage 50.0% 49.2%


Results by county

Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg
Governor of Texas before election

Dolph Briscoe

Elected Seal of the Governor of Texas.svg
Governor of Texas

Bill Clements

The 1978 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 1978 to select the governor of the state of Texas. Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Clements was elected over the Democratic candidate, state Attorney General John Luke Hill, who many experts had predicted to win the governorship. The election marked the first time that Texas elected a Republican governor since Reconstruction.


Republican Party[edit]

Candidates in the Republican Party who pursued gubernatorial bids in 1978 included:

Collins ultimately abandoned his bid and endorsed Clements, who faced Hutchison in the May 6, 1978 primary. Clements won the primary with 73% of the vote to Hutchison's 24%.

Republican Primary Results [1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bill Clements 115,345 72.82
Republican Ray Hutchison 38,268 24.16
Republican Clarence Thompson 4,790 3.02
Total votes 158,403 100.00

Democratic Party[edit]

Candidates in the Democratic Party who pursued gubernatorial bids in 1978 included:

Dolph Briscoe, who had first been elected in 1972 and was easily re-elected in 1974, had become increasingly unpopular within the Texas Democratic Party during his six years in office. John Luke Hill fielded a primary challenge against the Governor, as a liberal alternative to Briscoe, who represented the more conservative, rural faction of the party. Dissatisfaction with Briscoe prompted former Governor Preston Smith to enter the race, running as a populist alternative to the other two candidates. Briscoe had defeated Smith in the 1972 primary.

Democratic Primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Luke Hill 932,245 52.4
Democratic Dolph Briscoe 753,309 42.4
Democratic Preston Smith 92,202 5.2
Total votes 1,777,756 100


General election results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Bill Clements 1,183,828 49.96
Democratic John Luke Hill 1,166,919 49.24
Raza Unida Mario C. Compean 14,213 0.59
Socialist Workers Sara Johnston 4,624 0.19
Total votes 2,369,999 100.00

Further reading[edit]

  • Bridges, Kenneth William. "The twilight of the Texas democrats: The 1978 governor's race," Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas, 2003, 281 pages; AAT 3117260 in ProQuest


  1. ^ Texas Almanac