At this time Alabama was a de facto one-party state. Because of this, every Democratic Party nominee was considered safe for election. The real contest for governor took place during the primary.
Popular incumbent GovernorJim Folsom, a racial moderate, was barred from running for reelection, as Governors could not succeed themselves at the time. Therefore, the Democratic primary was an open contest.
A.W. Todd, Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries
George Wallace, Third Judicial Circuit Judge and former State Representative
The two front-runners, Patterson and Wallace, held deeply different positions on racial segregation issues. While Patterson, known primarily as crime-fighting attorney general, ran on a very segregationist platform and accepted an official endorsement from Ku Klux Klan, Wallace, a close ally of Folsom, refused to cooperate with the KKK and was endorsed by the NAACP.