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1978 Illinois gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1978 Illinois gubernatorial election

← 1976 November 7, 1978 1982 →
Turnout54.23% Decrease 19.95 pp
Bio thompson.jpg
Nominee James R. Thompson Michael Bakalis
Party Republican Democratic
Running mate David C. O'Neal Dick Durbin
Popular vote 1,859,684 1,263,134
Percentage 59.0% 40.1%

Illinois gubernatorial election, 1978.svg
County Results

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

Bakalis:      40–50%      50–60%

Governor before election

James R. Thompson

Elected Governor

James R. Thompson

Gubernatorial elections were held in Illinois in November 7, 1978.[1] Republican James R. Thompson easily won a second term in office, defeating Democrat nominee Michael Bakalis by nearly 600,000 votes.

Election information

This was the first Illinois gubernatorial election that took place during the United States' midterm elections.[2] The previous election had been in 1976.

The primary (held March 21) and general election coincided with those for federal offices (Senate and House) and those for other state offices.[1][3] The election was part of the 1978 Illinois elections.


Turnout in the primaries saw 20.39% in the gubernatorial primaries, with a total of 1,201,603 votes cast, and 16.33% in the lieutenant gubernatorial primary, with 962,288 votes cast.[3]

Turnout during the general election was 54.23%, with 3,150,107 votes cast.[1]

Democratic primary


Incumbent Illinois Comptroller Michael Bakalis won the Democratic primary.

Bakalis' opponent had been Dakin Williams, a prosecutor who was the younger brother of famous playwright Tennessee Williams.[4] Williams had been a candidate for the Democratic nomination of Illinois' US Senate seat in 1972, and had unsuccessfully sought the nomination for the state's other US Senate seat in 1974.[5]

Democratic gubernatorial primary[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael Bakalis 601,045 82.85
Democratic Dakin Williams 124,406 17.15
Write-in Others 8 0.00
Total votes 725,459 100

Lieutenant Governor

Lawyer Dick Durbin won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, running unopposed.

Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial primary[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Richard J. Durbin 528,819 100
Write-in Others 5 0.00
Total votes 528,824 100

Republican primary


Incumbent governor James R. Thompson won renomination, running unopposed.

Republican gubernatorial primary[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James R. Thompson (incumbent) 476,043 99.98
Write-in Others 101 0.02
Total votes 476,144 100

Lieutenant Governor

Incumbent lieutenant governor Dave O'Neal won renomination, running unopposed.

Republican lieutenant gubernatorial primary[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David C. O'Neal 433,453 100
Write-in Others 11 0.00
Total votes 433,464 100


1978 gubernatorial election, Illinois[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican James R. Thompson (incumbent)/David C. O'Neal (incumbent) 1,859,684 59.04
Democratic Michael Bakalis/Richard J. Durbin 1,263,134 40.10
Libertarian Georgia Shields/Marji Kohls 11,420 0.36
Socialist Workers Cecil Lampkin/Dennis Brasky 11,026 0.35
U.S. Labor Melvin Klenetsky/David R. Hoffman 4,737 0.15
Write-in Others 106 0.00 n-a
Majority 596,550 18.94
Turnout 3,150,107 54.23
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ a b c "OFFICIAL VOTE Cast at the GENERAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 7, 1978" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved 25 June 2020.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ w. "Illinois Constitution – Article V". Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "OFFICIAL VOTE Cast at the GENERAL PRIMARY ELECTION MARCH 21, 1978" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved 25 June 2020.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Tennessee Williams' brother dead at 89". The State Journal-Register. 22 May 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Our Campaigns - Candidate - W. Dakin Williams". Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  6. ^ [1]
This page was last edited on 3 February 2021, at 19:40
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