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1942 Georgia gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1942 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary

← 1940 September 9, 1942 1946 →
Gov Ellis Arnall.jpg
Eugene Talmadge, Georgia Governor.jpg
Nominee Ellis Arnall Eugene Talmadge
Party Democratic Democratic
Electoral vote 261 149
Popular vote 174,757 128,399
Percentage 57.65% 42.35%

Governor before election

Eugene Talmadge

Elected Governor

Ellis Arnall

The 1942 Georgia gubernatorial election took place on November 3, 1942, in order to elect the Governor of Georgia. The governor was elected to a four-year term for the first time, instead of a two-year term.

Incumbent Democrat Governor Eugene Talmadge was defeated in the Democratic primary.

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, 1942. As there were only two candidates, 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[5][6][7]
Candidate Votes % CUV
Ellis Arnall 174,757 57.65 261
Eugene Talmadge 128,399 42.35 149

General election

In the general election, Arnall faced token opposition.


1942 Georgia gubernatorial election[8][9][10][11]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Ellis Arnall 62,220 96.30%
Write-in D. Talmadge Bowers 1,701 2.63%
Write-in J. N. Foreman 687 1.06%
Turnout 64,608 100.00%
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. ^ Congressional Quarterly 1998, p. 107.
  6. ^ "GA Governor, 1942 - D Primary". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  7. ^ Georgia Register 1943, pp. 653-656.
  8. ^ Congressional Quarterly 1998, p. 48.
  9. ^ "GA Governor, 1942". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  10. ^ Glashan 1979, pp. 68-69.
  11. ^ Georgia Register 1943, pp. 688-691.


  • 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 (1943). Georgia's Official Register, 1939-1941-1943 (PDF). Atlanta, GA: State of Georgia, Department of Archives and History.
This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 06:06
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