1962 Alabama gubernatorial election

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1962 Alabama gubernatorial election

← 1958 November 6, 1962 1966 →
  George C Wallace.jpg
Nominee George Wallace
Party Democratic
Popular vote 303,987
Percentage 96.3%

Alabama gubernatorial election, 1962.svg
County results
Wallace:      80–90%      >90%

Governor before election

John Malcolm Patterson

Elected Governor

George Wallace

The 1962 Alabama gubernatorial election took place on November 6, 1962. Incumbent Democrat John Malcolm Patterson was term limited and could not seek a second consecutive term.

Democratic Party nomination[edit]

At this time Alabama was de facto one-party state. Every Democratic Party nominee felt safe. The real contest for governor took place during this party's primaries.

Incumbent Governor John M. Patterson was barred from seeking a second consecutive term.


Among three main contenders – Folsom, DeGraffenried and Wallace – the former two were considered to be progressive or moderate. Folsom, who served as Governor from 1947 to 1951 and again from 1955 to 1959, was one of the first Southern chief executives who spoke out in favor of desegregation and voting rights for an African Americans, which led to him frequently clashing with the Legislature on a number of issues.[1][2] DeGraffenried also ran as a moderate, especially on the race issues.[3]

Wallace, who lost a close primary to Patterson in 1958, ran that year as a Folsom-style moderate (he was indeed a close Folsom ally), and even received the official NAACP endorsement, while Patterson ran as a strong segregationist, accepting the official Ku Klux Klan endorsement.[4]

After he lost in 1958, Wallace adopted a strong segregationist stance as well in order to secure votes.[5]


In the primary, held on June 3, Wallace finished first but failed to win a majority. Folsom and DeGraffenried split the moderate vote, and DeGraffenried, as the second-place finisher, faced Wallace in the runoff. Many believed that a controversial TV appearance, in which Folsom appeared to be seriously drunk, cost him the election.

Democratic primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 207,062 32.49
Democratic Ryan DeGraffenried, Sr. 160,704 25.22
Democratic Jim Folsom 159,640 25.05
Democratic MacDonald Gallion 80,374 12.61
Democratic Bull Connor 23,019 3.61
Democratic J. Bruce Henderson 3,666 0.58
Democratic Wayne Jennings 1,946 0.31
Democratic Albert Boutwell 862 0.14
Total votes 637,273 100

Wallace defeated DeGraffenried in the runoff, held on June 24.[6]

Democratic runoff results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 340,730 55.87
Democratic Ryan DeGraffenried, Sr. 269,122 44.13
Total votes 609,852 100

Other nominations[edit]

The Republican Party did not field a candidate.

Wallace's sole rival was Frank P. Walls, an independent who was later an Alabama Conservative Party congressional candidate.

General election[edit]

As expected, Wallace won in a landslide:[7]


  1. ^ http://www.archives.state.al.us/govs_list/g_folsom.html
  2. ^ http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1423
  3. ^ a b http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=42328
  4. ^ https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wallace/filmmore/transcript/index.html
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-17. Retrieved 2009-02-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=80042
  7. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=79513