1958 Alabama gubernatorial election Information

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Alabama gubernatorial election, 1958

←  1954 November 4, 1958 1962 →
  John Malcolm Patterson.jpg No image.svg
Nominee John Malcolm Patterson William Longshore
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 234,583 30,415
Percentage 88.22% 11.44%

Alabama gubernatorial election, 1958.svg
County results
Patterson:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%      >90%

Governor before election

Jim Folsom

Elected Governor

John Malcolm Patterson

The Alabama gubernatorial election of 1958 was held on November 3, 1958. Incumbent Democrat Jim Folsom was term limited and could not seek a second consecutive term.

Democratic Party nomination

At this time Alabama was a de facto one-party state. Because of this, every Democratic Party nominee was considered safe for election. The real contest for governor took place during the primary.

Popular incumbent Governor Jim Folsom, a racial moderate, was barred from running for reelection, as Governors could not succeed themselves at the time. Therefore, the Democratic primary was an open contest.


The two front-runners, Patterson and Wallace, held deeply different positions on racial segregation issues. While Patterson, known primarily as crime-fighting attorney general, ran on a very segregationist platform and accepted an official endorsement from Ku Klux Klan, Wallace, a close ally of Folsom, refused to cooperate with the KKK and was endorsed by the NAACP.

Primary results

Primaries were held on June 3, 1958.

Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Malcolm Patterson 196,859 31.82
Democratic George Wallace 162,435 26.26
Democratic Jimmy Faulkner 91,512 14.79
Democratic A.W. Todd 59,240 9.58
Democratic Laurie C. Battle 38,955 6.30
Democratic George C. Hawkins 24,332 3.93
Democratic C.C. Owen 15,270 2.47
Democratic Karl Harrison 12,488 2.02
Democratic Billy Walker 7,963 1.29
Democratic W.E. Dodd 4,753 0.77
Democratic John G. Crommelin 2,245 0.36
Democratic Shearen Elebash 1,177 0.19
Democratic James Gulatte 798 0.13
Democratic Shorty Price 655 0.11
Total votes 618,682 100.00


Because none of candidates won a majority, a runoff was held on June 24, 1958, in order to determine which candidate received the nomination.

Democratic primary runoff results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John Malcolm Patterson 315,353 55.74
Democratic George Wallace 250,451 44.27
Total votes 565,804 100

Republican Party nomination

William Longshore, a former Republican Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 9th district (lost, winning 34.12% votes) won the gubernatorial nomination unopposed.

General election

Alabama gubernatorial election, 1958
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic John Malcolm Patterson 234,583 88.22
Republican William Longshore 30,415 11.44
Independent William Jackson 903 0.34
Majority 204,168
Turnout 265,901 76.78
Democratic hold

After his defeat, George Wallace, who was a racial moderate, modified his public position in order to gain the white support necessary to win the next election.