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1936 Georgia gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1936 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary

← 1934 September 9, 1936 1938 →
E. D. Rivers Georgia Governor.jpg
No image.svg
No image.svg
Nominee Eurith D. Rivers Charles D. Redwine Blanton Fortson
Party Democratic Democratic Democratic
Electoral vote 372 30 8
Popular vote 233,503 123,095 32,715
Percentage 59.98% 31.62% 8.40%

Governor before election

Eugene Talmadge

Elected Governor

Eurith D. Rivers

The 1936 Georgia gubernatorial election took place on November 3, 1936, in order to elect the Governor of Georgia.

Incumbent Democrat Governor Eugene Talmadge was term-limited, and ineligible to run for a third term. Talmadge instead ran for the U.S. Senate.

As was common at the time, the Democratic candidate ran with only token opposition in the general election so therefore the Democratic primary was the real contest, and winning the primary was considered tantamount to election.

Democratic primary

The Democratic primary election was held on September 9, 1936. As Rivers won a majority of county unit votes, there was no run-off.

County unit system

From 1917 until 1962, the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Georgia used a voting system called the county unit system to determine victors in statewide primary elections.[1]

The system was ostensibly designed to function similarly to the Electoral College, but in practice the large ratio of unit votes for small, rural counties to unit votes for more populous urban areas provided outsized political influence to the smaller counties.[2][3]

Under the county unit system, the 159 counties in Georgia were divided by population into three categories. The largest eight counties were classified as "Urban", the next-largest 30 counties were classified as "Town", and the remaining 121 counties were classified as "Rural". Urban counties were given 6 unit votes, Town counties were given 4 unit votes, and Rural counties were given 2 unit votes, for a total of 410 available unit votes. Each county's unit votes were awarded on a winner-take-all basis.[2][3]

Candidates were required to obtain a majority of unit votes (not necessarily a majority of the popular vote), or 206 total unit votes, to win the election. If no candidate received a majority in the initial primary, a runoff election was held between the top two candidates to determine a winner.[4]



Democratic primary[7][8][9]
Candidate Votes % CUV
Eurith D. Rivers 233,503 59.98 372
Charles D. Redwine 123,095 31.62 30
Blanton Fortson 32,715 8.40 8

General election

In the general election, Rivers faced token opposition.


1936 Georgia gubernatorial election[10][11][12][13]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Eurith D. Rivers 263,140 99.67%
Prohibition L. P. Glass 873 0.33%
Turnout 264,013 100.00%
Democratic hold Swing


  1. ^ "County Unit System". Georgia County Clerks Association. Archived from the original on 31 May 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Eugene Talmadge". The Jim Crow Encyclopedia. The African American Experience. Archived from the original on 23 January 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "County Unit System, eh?". Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  4. ^ Buchanan, Scott (13 June 2017). "County Unit System". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Primary will test Talmadge record". Evening Star. Washington, D.C. 6 September 1936. p. A-5. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Talmadge beaten in Georgia race". Evening Star. Washington, D.C. 10 September 1936. p. 1. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  7. ^ Congressional Quarterly 1998, p. 107.
  8. ^ "GA Governor, 1936 - D Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  9. ^ Georgia Register 1937, pp. 542-545.
  10. ^ Congressional Quarterly 1998, p. 48.
  11. ^ "GA Governor, 1936". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  12. ^ Glashan 1979, pp. 68-69.
  13. ^ Georgia Register 1937, pp. 657.


  • Gubernatorial Elections, 1787-1997. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc. 1998. ISBN 1-56802-396-0.
  • Glashan, Roy R. (1979). American Governors and Gubernatorial Elections, 1775-1978. Meckler Books. ISBN 0-930466-17-9.
  • Compiled by Mrs. J.E. Hays, State Historian and Director (1937). Georgia's Official Register, 1933-1935-1937 (PDF). Atlanta, GA: State of Georgia, Department of Archives and History.
This page was last edited on 1 January 2021, at 11:42
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