|Governor of North Carolina|
January 5, 1973 – January 8, 1977
|Preceded by||Robert Scott|
|Succeeded by||Jim Hunt|
|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
Life and career
Holshouser was born in Boone, North Carolina 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.
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, NC in the North Carolina General Assembly, where he rose to the position of House Minority Leader. He also chaired the state Republican Party from 1966 through 1972. In 1972, Holshouser defeated Jim Gardner for the Republican nomination for Governor, and then defeated Democrat Skipper Bowles in the general election, 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. Many Republicans disliked Holshouser's moderate stances on issues. The governor supported Gerald Ford for president in 1976, while Republican U.S. Senator Jesse Helms 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 kindergarten and establishment of health clinics in rural areas not served by local physicians. After leaving office, he 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 Governor Jim Hunt, who had served as Lieutenant Governor while Holshouser was in office. Holshouser was the last governor who was not eligible for a second four-year term; Hunt was elected in 1976 to succeed him. They served together on the North Carolina Advisory Board of DonorsChoose. Late in life, Holshouser campaigned alongside Hunt for state-funded judicial elections.
Holshouser Hall, a residence hall at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is named in his honor, as is the stretch of US 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. Professorships were endowed in his honor at both Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- 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
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina
|Governor of North Carolina