The 1966 Gubernatorial Election In Georgia

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Joseph B. Parker

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs


The 1966 gubernatorial election in Georgia is unique in the annals of Georgia politics. Former Governor Ellis G. Arnall, a liberal by Georgia standards, obtained a plurality in the Democractic primary by putting together a coalition of blacks and upper-income urban whites. Lester G. Maddox, a well-known segregationist, came in second with strong support from rural conservatives and lower-income white urban voters. In the runoff, Maddox defeated Arnall in one of the major upsets in Georgia politics. However, for the first time in modern Georgia history, the Republican Party mounted a serious challenge to Democratic control of the governorship with the candidacy of Republican Congressman Howard H. Callaway. Ironically, both Maddox and Callaway were conservative and segregationist in philosophy, and Georgia voters faced a choice between two adherents of the same basic philosophy. A write-in effort for Arnall denied either Maddox or Callaway the majority required for election. As a result, the election was thrown into the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, which elected Maddox by a vote of 182 to 66 even though Callaway had had a slim plurality in the general election.