1970 Alabama gubernatorial election

← 1966 November 3, 1970 1974 →
Nominee George Wallace John L. Cashin Jr. A. C. Shelton
Party Democratic National Democratic (Ala.) Independent
Popular vote 637,046 125,491 75,679
Percentage 74.5% 14.7% 8.9%

County results
Wallace:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%      >90%
Cashin      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Governor before election

Albert Brewer

Elected Governor

George Wallace

The 1970 Alabama gubernatorial election was marked by a competitive Democratic primary battle between incumbent moderate Governor Albert Brewer and segregationist former Governor and 1968 independent presidential candidate George Wallace. The Alabama Constitution was amended in 1968, allowing a governor to serve two consecutive terms.

Democratic primary



Despite Wallace's popularity, Brewer was seen as an early front-runner. Brewer, who had been elected lieutenant governor in 1966, had become governor after the death of Governor Lurleen Wallace, George's wife. A moderate, he became the first gubernatorial candidate since Reconstruction to openly court black voters.[1] Brewer, hoping to build a broad alliance between blacks and white working class voters, unveiled a progressive platform and accused Wallace of spending too much time outside the state, saying "Alabama needs a full-time governor.".[2]

Republican President Richard Nixon endorsed Brewer in order to break Wallace's political career and secure Deep South votes for himself in the next presidential election.[3][4]

Wallace, whose presidential ambitions would have been destroyed with a defeat, ran a very aggressive and dirty campaign using racist rhetoric while proposing few ideas of his own.[5] The Wallace campaign aired TV ads with slogans such as "Do you want the black block electing your governor?" and circulated an ad showing a white girl surrounded by seven black boys, with the slogan "Wake Up Alabama! Blacks vow to take over Alabama."[6] Wallace called Brewer a sissy[7] and promised not to run for president a third time.[8]

Primary results

Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Albert Brewer (incumbent) 428,146 41.98
Democratic George Wallace 416,443 40.84
Democratic Charles Woods 149,987 14.71
Democratic Asa Carter 15,441 1.51
Democratic Jim Folsom 4,123 0.40
Democratic Coleman Brown 2,836 0.28
Democratic Shorty Price 2,804 0.28
Total votes 1,019,780 100


Despite Brewer's victory in the first round, he failed to win a majority and was forced into a runoff with Wallace.

Democratic runoff results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 559,832 51.56
Democratic Albert Brewer (incumbent) 525,951 48.44
Total votes 1,085,783 100

General election

At the time, the Democratic primary in Alabama was regarded as more important than the general election, as Alabama was still essentially a one-party state. The Republican Party did not field a candidate, and Wallace easily won the general election.

1970 Alabama gubernatorial election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Wallace 637,046 74.51
National Democratic (Ala.) John L. Cashin Jr. 125,491 14.68
Independent A. C. Shelton 75,679 8.85
Prohibition Jerome B. Couch 9,705 1.14
Independent Menter G. Walker 3,534 0.41
Whig John Watts 3,497 0.41
Total votes 854,952 100
Democratic hold

See also


  1. ^ Rogers, William Warren, et al. Alabama: The History of a Deep South State. Tuscaloosa; The University of Alabama Press, 1994, 576.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-10-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Flowers, Steve, "Steve Flowers Inside the Statehouse", October 12, 2005
  3. ^ Rawls, Phillip (3 January 2017). "Former Alabama Gov. Albert Brewer dies at 88". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  4. ^ Kornacki, Steve (2011-05-09) Rick Santorum and the problem with the "loser" label Archived May 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Salon.com
  5. ^ Warren, 576
  6. ^ http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/060305/wallace.shtml[permanent dead link] Rawls, Phillip, "Book Rates George Wallace's '70 campaign as the nastiest", Decatur Daily, March 5, 2006
  7. ^ Rawls, March 5, 2005
  8. ^ Flowers, 2005