Candidate Quality and the Election of Republican Governors in the South, 1950-2004 Academic Article uri icon


  • Following the Civil War, the Democratic Party enjoyed almost complete dominance in southern electoral politics. Democratic hegemony was particularly acute in gubernatorial elections: In most southern states, more than a century elapsed before the first Republican governor was elected. Gubernatorial electoral success is a fundamental question, given the prominence of governors in state politics and the importance of states in the federal system. Here, we develop a model that explains the election of Republican gubernatorial candidates. We find that election of Republican governors in the South was delayed because of a comparative lack of quality Republican gubernatorial candidates in that region throughout much of the 20th century. Our research clarifies the contradictions reported in prior work by demonstrating that the effect of candidate quality varies by party and region. Interestingly, the competitive advantage once enjoyed by the Democratic Party in the South is now firmly held by the Republican Party.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Barghothi, A. J., Savchak, E. C., & Bowman, A. O.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Barghothi, AJ||Savchak, Elisha Carol||Bowman, Ann O'M

publication date

  • May 2010