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Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1860

Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1860

October 9, 1860 (1860-10-09)

Candidate Andrew Curtin Henry Donnel Foster
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 262,346 230,230
Percentage 53.26% 46.74%

County results*
  *Results unknown

Governor before election

William F. Packer

Elected Governor

Andrew Curtin

The Pennsylvania gubernatorial of 1860 was held on October 9, almost one month before Presidential election. Andrew Curtin of the newly formed Republican Party won the governor's mansion over Democrat Henry Donnel Foster.


  • Candidates 1
    • Democratic 1.1
    • Republican 1.2
  • Campaign 2
  • Results 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5




  • Andrew Curtin, former Secretary of the Commonwealth (from Centre County)


As in most of the county, the growing tension over the expansion of slavery was the dominant electoral issue. Although outgoing Governor William F. Packer had been lauded for expanding public education and for aiding the state's iron and glass industries through tough economic times, his reputation was tainted by a strong connection to President James Buchanan. Nonetheless, the state Democratic Party remained strong, and, despite the national split, leadership united behind Foster. By contrast, the Republicans, which had participated in only one prior gubernatorial election, was marked by division. Although Abraham Lincoln was emerging as the party's presidential candidate, state party bosses had hoped to nominate Simon Cameron; it took some time for the party establishment to unify around Curtin, a Lincoln supporter, and his campaign got off to somewhat of a slow start.[1]

Although both candidates discussed similar issues in their campaign, particularly public education and industrial development, local issues were totally overshadowed by the impending threat of war. While Democrats, who backed the Stephen A. Douglas and the Northern plank of their national party almost unanimously, rallied hard behind Foster, the problems with the party's national machinery caught up with their candidate. Curtin, a powerful speaker, was able to convince voters that choosing the Republican line was the only way to keep the nation from division, a message that allowed him to achieve a narrow victory. [2]


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1860[1][2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrew Gregg Curtin 262,346 53.26%
Democratic Henry Donnel Foster 230,230 46.74%
Totals 492,576 100.00%
Voter turnout 64.60%


  1. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 728.
  2. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 727.


  • Ackley, Gayle; Arcuri, Patricia D, eds. (1979).  

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