|68th Governor of North Carolina|
January 5, 1973 – January 8, 1977
|Preceded by||Robert Scott|
|Succeeded by||Jim Hunt|
|Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives|
|Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party|
|Born||James Eubert Holshouser, Jr.
October 8, 1934
Boone, North Carolina
|Died||June 17, 2013
Pinehurst, North Carolina
|Spouse(s)||Patricia Ann Hollingsworth|
|Alma mater||Davidson College
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. (October 8, 1934 – June 17, 2013) was the 68th Governor of the state of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977. He was the first Republican candidate to be elected as governor since 1896, when Republican Daniel L. Russell was elected as a Fusionist candidate. Holshouser's election reflected the new political realignment of the South, in which former white Conservative Democrats shifted to the Republican Party. By the end of the 20th century, the Republican Party was firmly based in the South among whites.
Life and career
Holshouser was born in Boone, North Carolina in 1934 and was the son of James E. "Peck" Holshouser, who was United States Attorney in the middle district of North Carolina under President Dwight Eisenhower.
In 1962, two years after graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Law, Holshouser was elected to the first of several terms representing Watauga County in the North Carolina House of Representatives, eventually becoming minority leader. North Carolina had been virtually a one-party, Democratic-dominated state since disfranchisement of blacks in 1899; Holshouser came from one of the few areas of the state where the GOP even existed. During the 1960s, however, a number of Southern whites began shifting their support to the Republicans==.
He chaired the state Republican Party from 1966 through 1972, following passage of federal civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965 that ended segregation and authorized federal oversight and enforcement of suffrage for African Americans.
In 1972, Holshouser defeated Jim Gardner for the Republican nomination for Governor, and then narrowly defeated Democrat Skipper Bowles in the general election with 51 percent of the vote, becoming North Carolina's first Republican governor elected since 1896. He was likely the beneficiary of coattails from Richard Nixon, who carried North Carolina and 48 other states in the Presidential election on the same ticket. At age 38, Holshouser was also the state's youngest governor since the nineteenth century.
Holshouser was a moderate Republican, which caused some chagrin among many members of his own party. The governor supported Gerald Ford for president in 1976, while Republican U.S. Senator Jesse Helms (a former Democrat) supported Ronald Reagan. When Reagan won the North Carolina presidential preference primary of 1976, the Republican state convention refused to appoint Holshouser as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
His accomplishments in office included consolidation of the University of North Carolina system under a Board of Governors, capital improvement funding for the community college system, statewide enrollment for children in kindergarten, and establishment of health clinics in rural areas not served by local physicians. He could not run for reelection in 1976. North Carolina governors were barred from immediate reelection at the time; while the state constitution had been amended to allow governors to run for reelection, this was not slated to take effect until 1976.
After leaving office, Holshouser returned to the practice of law (at one point forming a firm with former Democratic Gov. Terry Sanford), was elected to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, and later served as a member emeritus. He also served on the Boards of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC, and his undergraduate alma mater, Davidson College.
Holshouser eventually became great friends with Democratic Lieutenant Governor Jim Hunt, who succeeded him in 1976. They served together on the North Carolina Advisory Board of DonorsChoose. Late in life, Holshouser campaigned alongside Hunt for state-funded judicial elections.
He died on the morning of June 17, 2013.
Legacy and honors
- Holshouser Hall, a residence hall at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is named in his honor.
- A stretch of US 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock is named for him.
- Professorships were endowed in his honor at both Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Holshouser was honored with the North Carolina Award in 2006; it is the state's highest civilian honor. 
- Christensen, Rob. "Jim Holshouser, former North Carolina governor, dies at 78."
- "Opinion: Our Views - Public Funding of Judicial Races Works", Rocky Mount Telegram
- "Governor McCrory Offers Condolences to Family of Governor Holshouser", Governor's Office
- GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY PRESENT STATE’S HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR TO SEVEN DISTINGUISHED NORTH CAROLINIANS
- James Holshouser entry at the National Governors Association
- Biographical Timeline
- Oral History Interviews with James E. Holshouser Jr. , , ,  from Oral Histories of the American South, Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
|Governor of North Carolina