South Carolina gubernatorial election, 1894

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The 1894 South Carolina gubernatorial election was held on November 6, 1894 to select the governor of the state of South Carolina. John Gary Evans was nominated by the Democrats and became the 85th governor of South Carolina.

Democratic campaign[edit]

The conservatives had been so thoroughly defeated by Ben Tillman in 1890 and 1892 that they did not offer a candidate for the gubernatorial election. Instead, it became a contest between four Tillmanites: William Ellerbe, John Gary Evans, Dr. Sampson Pope and J.E. Tindal. All four claimed to be the candidate favored by Tillman, but an embarrassed Tillman responded, "They ought to be spanked for quarrelling about who is the closest friend of Tillman."[1] Initially, Tillman privately supported Ellerbe because he was a farmer, but Tillman became more attracted to Evans as he proved to be a better orator during the campaign. Evans also was able to woo Senator Irby to his side, who placed the Tillman machine squarely behind his candidacy.

Ellerbe, Pope and Tindall sensed that they would be unable to win any of the delegates for their candidacy at the Democratic convention and therefore requested a primary election to select the statewide ticket. Tillman refused this request and Evans was unanimously selected as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate at the Democratic convention in Columbia on September 1.

General election[edit]

Sampson Pope denounced the selection of Evans as the Democratic candidate by declaring it ring rule because the state Democratic party was completely run by Tillman and his cronies. He entered the general election as an independent candidate, but the Tillmanites used the quote uttered by Wade Hampton that "an independent was worse than a Radical"[2] to great effect and Pope's campaign was nothing more than a protest vote.

The general election was held on November 6, 1894 and John Gary Evans was easily elected as governor of South Carolina against Sampson Pope. Turnout increased for this election over the previous election because it was a contested election, but only by just over 100 votes.

South Carolina Gubernatorial Election, 1894
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Gary Evans 39,507 69.6 -30.4
Independent Sampson Pope 17,278 30.4 +30.4
Majority 22,229 39.2 -60.8
Turnout 56,785
Democratic hold
1894 South Carolina gubernatorial election map, by percentile by county.
  65+% won by Evans
  60%-64% won by Evans
  55%-59% won by Evans
  55%-59% won by Pope
  65+% won by Pope

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simkins, pp. 181-2
  2. ^ Ball, p. 239


  • Ball, William Watts (1932). The State That Forgot; South Carolina's Surrender to Democracy. The Bobbs-Merrill Company. pp. 223, 239. 
  • Simkins, Francis Butler (1964). The Tillman movement in South Carolina. Duke University Press. pp. 180–183. 
  • "Tabulation of the Vote". The News and Courier. 22 November 1894. p. 2. 
  • "The Result of the Count". The News and Courier. 20 November 1894. p. 1. 
  • "Election Returns." Reports and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina at the Regular Session Commencing Nov. 27th, 1894. Volume I. Columbia, SC: Charles A. Calvo, Jr., 1894, p. 470.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
South Carolina gubernatorial elections Succeeded by