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1976 Illinois gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1976 Illinois gubernatorial election

← 1972 November 2, 1976 1978 →
Turnout74.18% Decrease 1.1 pp
Bio thompson.jpg
Michael Howlett (1).jpg
Nominee James R. Thompson Michael J. Howlett
Party Republican Democratic
Running mate David C. O'Neal Neil Hartigan
Popular vote 3,000,395 1,610,258
Percentage 64.68% 34.71%

Illinois gubernatorial election, 1976.svg
County Results

Thompson:      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%      80-90%

Howlett:      50–60%

Governor before election

Dan Walker

Elected Governor

James R. Thompson

Gubernatorial elections were held in Illinois on November 2, 1976.[1] Incumbent Governor Dan Walker lost renomination in favor of Secretary of State Michael J. Howlett, who was a Daley ally. Howlett then lost the general election to Republican James R. Thompson. This election was the first of seven consecutive Republican gubernatorial victories in Illinois, a streak not broken until the election of Democrat Rod Blagojevich in 2002.

Election information

This election was for a two-year term which would synchronize future gubernatorial elections with midterm election years, rather than presidential election years, as the 1970 Constitution of Illinois required gubernatorial elections to be held in midterm election years starting in 1978.[2] The previous election had been in 1972.

The primaries (held on March 16) and general election coincided with those for federal offices (United States President and House) and those for other state offices.[1] The election was part of the 1976 Illinois elections.


Turnout in the primaries saw 38.79% in the gubernatorial primaries, with a total of 2,231,910 votes cast, and 33.89% in the lieutenant gubernatorial primary, with 1,949,469 votes cast.[1]

Turnout during the general election was 74.18%, with 4,639,010 votes cast.[1]

Democratic primary


The incumbent Governor, Dan Walker, had a contentious relationship with the Daley Machine, which backed Secretary of State Michael J. Howlett. Walker carried most of the state's counties, but Howlett carried Cook county by a wide margin and was ultimately nominated.

Dark Blue denotes a county carried by Howlett, and Light Blue by Walker.
Dark Blue denotes a county carried by Howlett, and Light Blue by Walker.
1976 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Illinois[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Michael J. Howlett 811,721 53.82
Democratic Dan Walker (incumbent) 696,380 46.17
Write-in Others 245 0.02 n-a
Majority 115,341 7.65
Turnout 1,508,346

Lieutenant Governor

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Neil Hartigan was renominated, defeating Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago commissioner Joanne H. Alter.

Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial primary[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Neil F. Hartigan (incumbent) 857,910 66.29
Democratic Joanne H. Alter 436,322 33.71
Write-in Others 29 0.00
Total votes 1,294,232 100

Republican primary


Thompson won the Republican Primary in a landslide, carrying every county.

1976 Republican gubernatorial primary, Illinois[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican James R. Thompson 625,457 86.44
Republican Richard H. Cooper 97,937 13.54
Republican write-ins 170 0.02 n-a
Majority 527,484 29.97
Turnout 723,564

Lieutenant Governor

Dave O'Neal won the Republican primary, defeating Joan G. Anderson.

Republican lieutenant gubernatorial primary[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David C. O'Neal 376,126 57.40
Republican Joan G. Anderson 279,087 42.59
Write-in Others 24 0.00
Total votes 655,237 100

General election

Thompson joins President Gerald Ford on a whistle stop in Springfield
Thompson joins President Gerald Ford on a whistle stop in Springfield
1976 gubernatorial election, Illinois[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican James R. Thompson/Dave O'Neal 3,000,365 64.68
Democratic Michael J. Howlett/Neil F. Hartigan 1,610,258 34.71
Communist Ishmael Flory/Linda R. Appelhans 10,091 0.22
Libertarian F. Joseph McCaffrey/Georgia E. Shields 7,552 0.16
Socialist Workers Suzanne Haig/Dennis Brasky 4,926 0.11
Socialist Labor George LaForest/Stanley A. Prorok 3,147 0.07
U.S. Labor Edward Waffle/Peter Matni 2,302 0.05
Write-in Others 369 0.01 n-a
Majority 1,390,137 29.97
Turnout 4,639,010
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "OFFICIAL VOTE Cast at the GENERAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 2, 1976 JUDICIAL PRIMARY ELECTION GENERAL PRIMARY, MARCH, 16, 1976" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  2. ^ w. "Illinois Constitution – Article V". Retrieved 2015-04-04.
This page was last edited on 10 December 2020, at 03:46
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