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United States gubernatorial elections, 1968

United States gubernatorial elections, 1968


Governorships of AZ, AR, DE, IL, IN, IA, KS, MO, MT, NH, NM,


  Majority party Minority party
Party Republican Democratic
Last election 26 governorships 24 governorships
Seats before 26 24
Seats after 31 19
Seat change Increase5 Decrease5

The 1968 United States gubernatorial elections were held in 1968, concurrent with the 1968 Presidential Election on 5 November 1968.


  • Arizona 1
  • Arkansas 2
  • Delaware 3
  • Illinois 4
  • Indiana 5
  • Iowa 6
  • Kansas 7
  • Missouri 8
  • Montana 9
  • New Hampshire 10
  • New Mexico 11
  • North Carolina 12
  • North Dakota 13
  • West Virginia 14
  • Races 15
  • References 16


Jack Richard Williams won re-election against Samuel Pearson Goddard, Jr., in a 'rematch' election, where Goddard was trying to get his old job back. Basically, a repeat of the 1966 Arizona Governor's Race, with Williams winning.[1]


Rockefeller had already made his mark in 1966, when he was elected as the first Republican governor since 1872 and having the black vote to boot, not to mention challenging the Faubus empire two years before in 1964. Getting re-elected in 1968 was good, but things for Rockefeller went downhill from there.[2]


Terry not wanting to take the National Guard out of the black communities in Wilmington played a factor in his defeat, not to mention that Peterson had made it. Peterson would go on to be a legend in Delaware politics in a short time, mainly for his 'green' politics.[3]


Samuel H. Shapiro got to be Governor temporarily after Otto Kerner, Jr. resigned to take a job to the federal appellate court.[4] Shapiro lost the race to get his own full term. As for Kerner, he would become famous for two things: being the head of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, aka the Kerner Commission, and going to jail over various charges stemming from being a stockholder in a racetrack business.[5]


Indiana changed the rules so that governors could have two back-to-back 4-year terms in November 1972.[6] Thus, Branigin was not eligible for a second term.


Harold Hughes resigned on January 1, 1969, to run for the Senate.[7] Robert D. Fulton would serve as Governor from January 1-January 16, 1969, until the new Governor, Robert D. Ray, could begin.[8] Ray would go on to a political career,[9] while Hughes, inspired by his own battles with alcoholism, made drug/alcohol abuse his 'thing' in the Senate, then later left politics to open an alcoholism treatment center and to do religious work.[10]


Docking won re-election. Ultimately, Docking would set a record by winning four two-year terms.[11] Kansas operated on governors serving 2-year terms until 1974, when a constitutional amendment was added, creating a four-year term system for governors.[12]


In Missouri, during Hearnes' term, the rules were changed so that governors were allowed two back-to-back four-year terms.[13] Thus, by 1968, Hearnes was eligible for another term.


Babcock became Governor in 1962 after his predecessor/boss, Gov. Donald Nutter, was killed in a plane crash.[14][15] Babcock got a full term in the 1964 Governor's Race.[16]

New Hampshire

King might have run for another term had the 1968 Presidential election not gotten in his way. King was an avid President Lyndon B. Johnson supporter, and a 'hawk' on Vietnam. So, when Senator Eugene McCarthy dropped into New Hampshire, King didn't hold back on the attacks. But the attacks didn't work. President Johnson said good-bye to the 1968 Presidential Race, 'handed' his place to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who in turn asked King to run for the Senate. King did, losing to Republican Norris Cotton.[17]

New Mexico

Cargo got re-elected in 1968, but then, being term limited in 1970 (see United States gubernatorial elections, 1970), he tried running for other offices, but "Lonesome Dave" never won again.[18]

North Carolina

In North Carolina, governors weren't allowed two terms in a row until 1977.[19]

North Dakota

Governors served two year terms until 1964, when a constitutional amendment changed it to a four-year term.[20]

West Virginia

In 1970, during Arch Moore's term, an amendment to the West Virginia constitution allowed governors to serve two consecutive terms.[21] Thus, Hulett Smith was not eligible for a second term.


State Incumbent Party Status Opposing Candidates
Arizona Jack Richard Williams Republican Re-elected, 57.84% Samuel Pearson Goddard, Jr. (Democratic) 42.16%[22]
Arkansas Winthrop Rockefeller Republican Re-elected, 52.43% Marion Crank (Democratic) 47.57%[23]
Delaware Charles L. Terry, Jr. Democratic Defeated, 49.49% Russell W. Peterson (Republican) 50.51%[24]
Illinois Samuel H. Shapiro Democratic Lost election to get his own term, 48.37% Richard B. Ogilvie (Republican) 51.21%
Edward C. Gross (Socialist Labor) 0.43%[25]
Indiana Roger D. Branigin Democratic Term-limited, Republican victory Edgar Whitcomb (Republican) 52.72%
Robert L. Rock (Democratic) 47.13%
Melvin E. Hawk (Prohibition) 0.15%[26]
Iowa Harold Hughes Democratic Retired to run for the Senate,[27] Republican victory Robert D. Ray (Republican) 54.06%
Paul Franzenburg (Democratic) 45.86%
Harry Miller (Prohibition) 0.08%[28]
Kansas Robert Docking Democratic Re-elected, 51.86% Rick Harman (Republican) 47.62%
Marshall Uncapher (Prohibition) 0.53%[29]
Missouri Warren E. Hearnes Democratic Re-elected, 60.80% Lawrence K. Roos (Republican) 39.20%[30]
Montana Tim M. Babcock Republican Defeated, 41.87% Forrest H. Anderson (Democratic) 54.11%
Wayne Montgomery (New Reform) 4.03%[31]
New Hampshire John W. King Democratic Retired, Republican victory Walter R. Peterson, Jr. (Republican) 52.53%
Emile R. Bussiere (Democratic) 47.44%
Others 0.02%[32]
New Mexico David Cargo Republican Re-elected, 50.21% Fabian Chavez, Jr. (Democratic) 49.29%
Jose Maestes (People's Constitutional) 0.48%
Others 0.02%[33]
North Carolina Dan K. Moore Democratic Term-limited, Democratic victory Robert W. Scott (Democratic) 52.70%
James Carson Gardner (Republican) 47.30%[34]
North Dakota William L. Guy Democratic-NPL Re-elected, 54.82% Robert P. McCarney (Republican) 43.70%
Leo Landsberger (Taxpayers Revival Ticket) 1.48%[35]
Rhode Island John Chafee Republican Defeated, 48.98% Frank Licht (Democratic) 51.02%[36]
South Dakota Nils Boe Republican Retired, Republican victory Frank Farrar (Republican) 57.65%
Robert Chamberlin (Democratic) 42.35%[37]
Texas John Connally Democratic Retired, Democratic victory Preston Smith (Democratic) 56.99%
Paul Eggers (Republican) 43.01%[38]
Utah Calvin L. Rampton Democratic Re-elected, 68.71% Carl W. Buehner (Republican) 31.29%[39]
Vermont Philip H. Hoff Democratic Retired, Republican victory Deane C. Davis (Republican) 55.49%
John J. Daley (Democratic) 44.48%[40]
Washington Daniel J. Evans Republican Re-elected, 54.72% John J. O'Connell (Democratic) 44.28%
Ken Chriswell (Conservative) 0.91%
Henry Killman (Socialist Labor) 0.09%[41]
West Virginia Hulett C. Smith Democratic Term-limited, Republican victory Arch A. Moore, Jr. (Republican) 50.86%
James M. Sprouse (Democratic) 49.14%[42]
Wisconsin Warren P. Knowles Republican Re-elected, 52.88% Bronson Cutting La Follette (Democratic) 46.82%
Adolf Wiggert (Socialist Labor) 0.19%
Robert Wilkinson (Socialist Workers) 0.11%[43]


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