United States Senate special election in South Carolina, 1966

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Fritz Hollings

The 1966 South Carolina United States Senate special election was held on November 8, 1966 to select the U.S. Senator from the state of South Carolina. The election resulted from the death of Senator Olin D. Johnston in 1965. Then Governor Donald S. Russell entered in a prearranged agreement with Lieutenant Governor Robert Evander McNair in which Russell would resign his post so that he could be appointed Senator. However, former Governor Fritz Hollings won the Democratic primary election and went on to beat Republican state senator Marshall Parker in the general election to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term.

Democratic Primary[edit]

In the 1962 gubernatorial election, Donald S. Russell had stated that he would he serve out a full term and not seek a higher office. However, midway through his term he resigned from the governorship so that he could be appointed to the United States Senate. Russell faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from former Governor Fritz Hollings, who had lost to Olin D. Johnston in the 1962 primary for the same Senate seat. On June 14, the South Carolina Democratic Party held their primary election and Hollings scored a comfortable victory over Russell to become the Democratic nominee.

Democratic Primary
Candidate Votes %
Fritz Hollings 196,405 60.8
Donald S. Russell 126,595 39.2


Republican Primary[edit]

The South Carolina Republican Party was in the beginning stages of becoming a major political party in South Carolina politics. It had few elected officials in the state and when state senator Marshall Parker from Oconee County sought the Republican nomination, he did not face any opposition.

General election campaign[edit]

Parker faced an uphill battle in winning the Senate seat. First, the state was dominated by the Democratic Party and any Republican politician faced a tough time seeking election. Although there was hope for Republicans because Barry Goldwater had won the state in the 1964 presidential election. Secondly, most of the resources of the Republican party were allocated for Strom Thurmond's re-election campaign and Joseph O. Rogers, Jr. gubernatorial election. Nevertheless, Parker kept the race close and almost defeated Hollings in the general election.

Election results[edit]

South Carolina U.S. Senate Special Election, 1966
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Fritz Hollings 223,790 51.3 -5.9
Republican Marshall Parker 212,032 48.7 +5.9
Majority 11,758 2.6 -11.8
Turnout 435,822 49.1 +2.2
  Democratic hold


Aftermath[edit]

Hollings first Senate victory was also his closest and he was easily re-elected in 1968 (full term), 1974, 1980, and 1986, with somewhat tougher races in 1992 and 1998, although neither with a margin as narrow as that of his initial election. He eventually became seventh-longest serving Senator in history (just behind Robert Byrd, Thurmond, Ted Kennedy, Daniel Inouye, Carl Hayden and John C. Stennis). He and Thurmond were also the longest-serving Senate duo. Because of this, despite his length of service, Hollings spent 36 years as the junior Senator, even though - with his penultimate term - he had gained seniority of all but four of his colleagues - Byrd, Thurmond, Inouye and Kennedy. Hollings went on to become a nationally important political figure, e.g., serving as Chairman of the Budget committee.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Supplemental Report of the Secretary of State to the General Assembly of South Carolina." Reports and Resolutions of South Carolina to the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina. Volume II. Columbia, SC: 1967, pp. 16, 41.
  • "South Carolina's New Senator". Time. 1965-04-30. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 

See also[edit]