United States gubernatorial elections, 1972

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The 1972 gubernatorial elections were held in Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington State, West Virginia and Texas, concurrent with the presidential election. General elections were held 7 November 1972.

Gubernatorial elections were also held in Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota. In these states, they were the last elections on a two year cycle, before switching to a four-year term for governors (see United States gubernatorial elections, 1970 for more information).


In Arkansas, Dale Bumpers was re-elected to another two-year term in a landslide. Arkansas had two year terms for governors until 1984, when they switched to four year terms for governors with Amendment 63.[1]

Delaware and Illinois[edit]

In Delaware and Illinois, Republicans Russell W. Peterson and Richard B. Ogilvie were defeated by Democrats Sherman Willard Tribbitt and Dan Walker respectively.


In Indiana, Indiana changed the rules so that governors could have two back-to-back 4 year terms in 1972, but the amendment didn't take place until November 1972.[2] This ruling in effect said that Edgar Whitcomb wasn't eligible for another term.


In Iowa, Republican incumbent governor Robert D. Ray won a third four-year term, defeating Democratic challenger Paul Franzenburg, whom Ray had defeated for governor four years earlier. This was the last gubernatorial election in Iowa where the winner served a two-year term; starting with the 1974 election, governors would serve a four-year term.


In Kansas, incumbent governor Robert Docking won a fourth two-year term. Beginning with the 1974 election, governors in Kansas would serve a four-year term.


In Missouri, during Governor Warren Hearnes' term, the rules were changed so that governors were allowed two back-to-back four-year terms.[3] By the 1972 race, Hearnes had served two terms and was term limited.


In Montana, a new state constitution in 1972 allowed all the four year terms a governor could want.[4] Anderson didn't run for another term because of health issues, and this bad health was considered the motive behind Anderson's suicide in 1989.[5]

North Carolina[edit]

In North Carolina, governors weren't allowed two terms in a row until 1977, thus term-limiting Scott.[6]

Rhode Island[edit]

In Rhode Island, governors were on two-year terms until 1994, when the state switched to four year terms for governors.[7]


In Texas, the defeat of Smith has been considered a casualty of the Sharpstown Scandal.[8] Texas also had a system of governors doing two year terms until 1974, when they switched to four year terms for governors.[9]

State Incumbent Party Status Opposing Candidates
Arkansas[10] Dale Bumpers Democratic Re-elected, 75.44% Len E. Blaylock (Republican) 24.56%
Delaware[11] Russell W. Peterson Republican Defeated, 47.91% Sherman Willard Tribbitt (Democratic) 51.27%
Virginia M. Lyndall (American) 0.64%
Harry H. Conner (Prohibition) 0.17%
Illinois[12] Richard B. Ogilvie Republican Defeated, 49.02% Dan Walker (Democratic) 50.68%
George LaForest (Socialist Labor) 0.17%
Ishmael Flory (Communist) 0.10%
Write in 0.03%
Indiana[13] Edgar Whitcomb Republican Term-limited, Republican victory Otis Bowen (Republican) 56.77%
Matthew Empson Welsh (Democratic) 42.46%
Berryman S. Hurley (American Independent) 0.40%
Finley N. Campbell (Peace and Freedom) 0.30%
John Marion Morris (Socialist Labor) 0.08%
Iowa[14] Robert D. Ray Republican Re-elected, 58.43% Paul Franzenburg (Democratic) 40.26%
Robert Dilley (American Independent) 1.30%
Kansas[15] Robert Docking Democratic Re-elected, 61.99% Morris Kay (Republican) 37.05%
Rolland Ernest Fisher (Prohibition) 0.96%
Missouri[16] Warren E. Hearnes Democratic Term-limited, Republican victory Kit Bond (Republican) 55.18%
Edward L. Doud (Democrat) 44.64%
Paul J. Leonard (Nonpartisan) 0.19%
Montana[17] Forrest H. Anderson Democratic Retired, Democratic victory Thomas Lee Judge (Democratic) 54.12%
Ed Smith (Republican) 45.88%
New Hampshire[18] Walter Peterson Republican Defeated in primary,[19] Republican victory Meldrim Thomson, Jr. (Republican) 41.38%
Roger J. Crowley (Democratic) 39.03%
Malcolm McLane (Independent) 19.56%
Scattering 0.03%
North Carolina[20] Robert W. Scott Democratic Term-limited, Republican victory James Holshouser (Republican) 51%
Hargrove "Skipper" Bowles (Democratic) 48.45%
Arlis F. Pettyjohn (American) 0.55%
North Dakota[21] William L. Guy Democratic-NPL Retired, Democratic-NPL victory Arthur A. Link (Democratic-NPL) 51.04%
Richard Larsen (Republican) 48.96%
Rhode Island[22] Frank Licht Democratic Retired, Democratic victory Philip W. Noel (Democratic) 52.55%
Herbert F. DeSimone (Republican) 47.07%
Adam J. Varone (Independent) 0.39%
South Dakota[23] Richard F. Kneip Democratic Re-elected, 60.03% Carveth Thompson (Republican) 39.97%
Utah[24] Calvin L. Rampton Democratic Re-elected, 69.68% Nicholas L. Strike (Republican) 30.32%
Vermont[25] Deane C. Davis Republican Retired, Democratic victory Thomas P. Salmon (Democratic) 55.24%
Luther Fred Hackett (Republican) 43.59%
Bernie Sanders (Liberty Union) 1.15%
Scattering 0.02%
Washington[26] Daniel J. Evans Republican Re-elected, 50.79% Albert Rosellini (Democratic) 42.83%
Vick Gould (Taxpayers) 5.90%
Robin David (Socialist Workers) 0.31%
Henry Killman (Socialist Labor) 0.18%
West Virginia[27] Arch A. Moore, Jr. Republican Re-elected, 54.74% Jay Rockefeller (Democratic) 45.26%
Texas[28] Preston Smith Democratic Defeated in primary,[29] Democratic victory Dolph Briscoe (Democratic) 47.91%
Henry Grover (Republican) 44.99%
Ramsey Muniz (La Raza Unida) 6.28%
Debbie Leonard (Socialist Workers) 0.71%
Scattering 0.11%


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  2. ^ "Article 5. Executive". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Missouri Governor Warren E. Hearnes". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Government". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  5. ^ AP (23 July 1989). "Forrest Anderson, Ex-Governor Of Montana, Kills Himself at 76". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "North Carolina State and Local Government at a Glance". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Pengjie Gao and Yaxuan Qi. "Political Uncertainty and Public Financing Costs: Evidence from U.S. Municipal Bond Markets". p. 8. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Modern Texas Part 1, 1949-1973". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Modern Texas Part 2, 1973-1991". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "AR Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "DE Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "IL Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "IN Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "IA Governor". Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "KS Governor". Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "MO Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "MT Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "NH Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "NH Governor - R Primary". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "NC Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "ND Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "RI Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "SD Governor". Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  24. ^ "UT Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "VT Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  26. ^ "WA Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "WV Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  28. ^ "TX Governor". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  29. ^ "TX Governor - D Primary". Retrieved 4 July 2012.