1938 Oklahoma gubernatorial election

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1938 Oklahoma gubernatorial election

← 1934 November 8, 1938 1942 →
  Leon Phillips 1938.jpg Ross Rizley.jpg
Nominee Leon C. Phillips Ross Rizley
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 355,740 148,861
Percentage 70.0% 29.3%

Governor before election

E. W. Marland

Elected Governor

Leon C. Phillips

The Oklahoma gubernatorial election of 1938 was held on November 8, 1938, and was a race for the Governor of Oklahoma. Democrat Leon 'Red' Phillips defeated Republican former State Senator Ross Rizley. Also on the ballot were John Wesley Lanham of the Prohibition Party and Independent John Franing. [1] This election is the last time an alternative party has had a primary for governor in Oklahoma, as the Prohibitionists chose Francis Simpson over Ralph Butterfield, but Simpson then withdrew and the party placed Lanham on the ballot as a replacement. [2]

Democratic primary[edit]

Nine candidates vied for the Democratic nomination, including former governors Alfalfa Bill Murray and Jack C. Walton. With the elimination of the runoff primary, Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Red Phillips eked out a narrow win over W. S. Key.


Democratic primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Leon C. Phillips 179,139 30.1
Democratic W. S. Key 176,034 29.6
Democratic Wm. H. Murray 148,395 24.9
Democratic Jack Walton 45,760 7.7
Democratic Ira M. Finley 37,107 6.2
Democratic William M. Edwards 2,557 0.4
Democratic John W. Davis 2,205 0.3
Democratic J. M. Cole 1,410 0.2
Democratic T. W. Bickel 1,088 0.1
Total votes 593,695 100.00

Republican primary[edit]

Future Congressman Ross Rizley defeated two challengers by a wide margin to claim the GOP nomination.


Republican primary results [4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ross Rizley 24,198 46.0
Republican Harry E. Ingram 15,460 29.4
Republican J. T. Dickerson 12,890 24.5
Total votes 52,548 100.00

Prohibition primary[edit]

Francis Simpson defeated Ralph Butterfield in the primary but then withdrew. John Wesley Lanham of Bethany was named as a replacement candidate. [5] This was the only alternative party gubernatorial primary in Oklahoma until 2018.


Prohibition primary results [6]
Party Candidate Votes %
Prohibition Francis M. Simpson 98 57.6
Prohibition Ralph M. Butterfield 72 42.3
Total votes 170 100.00


1938 Oklahoma gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Leon C. Phillips 355,740 70.0
Republican Ross Rizley 148,861 29.3
Prohibition John Wesley Lanham 2,579 0.5
Independent John Franing 776 0.1
Democratic hold Swing