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Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1978


Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1978

Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1978

November 4, 1978

Nominee Bill Clinton Lynn Lowe
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 335,101 193,746
Percentage 63.36% 36.64%

Governor before election

David Pryor

Elected Governor

Bill Clinton

The Arkansas gubernatorial election of 1978, held on November 7, was the first time that future President of the United States Bill Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas.

Democratic nomination

At this time, one gubernatorial term was two years. Incumbent two-term Democratic Governor David Pryor decided to not seek re-election in order to run for the United States Senate, as his predecessor and future Senate colleague Dale Bumpers did.[1]


Clinton, a former assistant to U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright and since 1977 the state Attorney General, won the nomination easily.

  • Clinton - 341,118 (59.55%)
  • Woodward - 123,674 (21.59%)
  • Lady - 76,026 (13.27%)
  • Mathis - 26,096 (4.56%)
  • Schwarzlose - 5,898 (1.03%)

Clinton carried sixty-nine of the seventy-five counties in the primary.

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Joe Purcell was renominated for a third term.

Republican nomination

A. Lynn Lowe, a Texarkana farmer, who served as state Republican Party chairman from 1974–1980, was unopposed for the 1978 gubernatorial nomination. He had also been the Republican nominee for Arkansas's 4th congressional district seat in 1966.

Election result

Clinton won easily.[2]

Clinton also led in fundraising. His campaign budget combined $709,234.00 while Lynn's was $171,382.[2]

Clinton, at the age of thirty-two, became the youngest Arkansas governor, the youngest governor in the United States since Harold E. Stassen won in Minnesota in 1938 at the age of thirty-one, and the youngest governor in nation at this time. In 1992 he was elected third-youngest U.S. President. Lowe's total was the highest for a Republican nominee in Arkansas since Winthrop Rockefeller's third term bid in 1970. He carried fourteen out of seventy-five counties, including Miller, Columbia, and Union counties in South Arkansas.


  1. ^ Our Campaigns - AR. Governor - D Primary Race - May 30, 1978
  2. ^ a b Our Campaigns - AR Governor Race - Nov 07, 1978
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