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1987 Mississippi gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1987 Mississippi gubernatorial election
Flag of Mississippi (1894-1996).svg

← 1983 November 3, 1987 1991 →
No image.svg
Nominee Ray Mabus Jack Reed
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 385,689 336,006
Percentage 53.44% 46.56%

Mississippi Governor 1987.svg
County Results

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

Reed:      50-60%      60-70%

Governor before election

William Allain

Elected Governor

Ray Mabus

The 1987 Mississippi gubernatorial election took place on November 3, 1987, in order to elect the Governor of Mississippi. Incumbent Democrat William Allain was term-limited, and could not run for reelection to a second term.

Democratic primary

No candidate received a majority in the Democratic primary, which featured 7 contenders, so a runoff was held between the top two candidates. The runoff election was won by State Auditor Ray Mabus, who defeated cotton farmer and businessman Mike Sturdivant.


Mississippi Democratic gubernatorial primary, 1987[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ray Mabus 304,559 37.69
Democratic Mike Sturdivant 131,180 16.24
Democratic Bill Waller 105,056 13.00
Democratic John Arthur Eaves, Sr. 98,517 12.19
Democratic Maurice Dantin 83,603 10.35
Democratic Ed Pittman 73,667 9.12
Democratic Gilbert Fountain 5,990 0.74
Total votes 802,572 100.00


Mississippi Democratic gubernatorial primary runoff, 1987[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ray Mabus 428,883 64.31
Democratic Mike Sturdivant 238,039 35.69
Total votes 666,922 100.00

Republican primary

Businessman and State Board of Education member Jack Reed won the Republican primary, defeating Doug Lemon.


Mississippi Republican gubernatorial primary, 1987[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jack Reed 14,798 78.48
Republican Doug Lemon 4,057 21.52
Total votes 18,855 100.00

General election


At 39 years of age, Ray Mabus defeated Tupelo businessman Jack Reed in the 1987 gubernatorial election by 53% to 47%, becoming the youngest governor in the United States. He won "on a wave of black votes" (black voters made up about 30 percent of the state's registered voters)[4] and lost the white vote "by about 3 to 2" despite support from what a coalition one Democratic state chairman described as "poor whites" and yuppies.[5] Mabus, who ran on the slogan "Mississippi Will Never Be Last Again",[4] was billed as "the face of the New South", much like his counterpart in Arkansas at the time, Bill Clinton. Mabus was featured in a 1988 New York Times Magazine cover story titled "The Yuppies of Mississippi; How They Took Over the Statehouse".[6]


Mississippi gubernatorial election, 1987[7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ray Mabus 385,689 53.44%
Republican Jack Reed 336,006 46.56%
Total votes 721,695 100.00
Democratic hold


  1. ^ "MS Governor D Primary 1987". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "MS Governor D Primary Runoff 1987". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  3. ^ "MS Governor R Primary 1987". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Applebome, Peter (16 September 1991). "Mississippi Governor's Record at Issue". New York Times.
  5. ^ E.J. Dionne, Jr. (5 November 1987). "Voting Produces Strong Evidence of Importance of Race in Politics". New York Times.
  6. ^ Boyer, Peter J. (28 February 1988). "The Yuppies of Mississippi: How They Took Over the Statehouse". New York Times Magazine.
  7. ^ "MS Governor 1987". Our Campaigns. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 14:28
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