Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1932

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Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1932

← 1930 November 8, 1932 (1932-11-08) 1934 →

 
Nominee Junius Marion Futrell James O. Livesay
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 200,612 19,713
Percentage 90.4%[1] 8.9%[2]

Arkansas Governor Election Results by County, 1932.svg
County results

Futrell:
     50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
     80–90%      90%+

Livesay:
Did not win any counties

Governor before election

Harvey Parnell
Democratic

Elected Governor

Junius Marion Futrell
Democratic

The 1932 Arkansas gubernatorial election was held on November 8, 1932, to elect the Governor of Arkansas, concurrently with the election to Arkansas's Class III U.S. Senate seat, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.

Incumbent Democratic Governor Harvey Parnell had won office in 1928, and reelection in 1930. During this period, it was customary for governors to be reelected to a second term, but only one governor, Jeff Davis, had served three terms since Reconstruction. In the Solid South, winning the Democratic primary was tantamount to election, a trend that resulted in Democratic control of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion from 1874 to 1967. Chancery judge Junius Marion Futrell won a seven-candidate primary, and was nominated by the party despite insisting he did not want the position. The Republicans nominated James O. Livesay, a lawyer from Foreman in Little River County, who had also been the gubernatorial nominee against Harvey Parnell in 1930.

Futrell defeated Livesay in a landslide election, and would win reelection in 1934. Though the office remained within the Democratic party, the election represented a realignment in favor of the conservative wing of the party. Futrell was the most conservative governor elected in decades, with 1932 marking the end of the reform era in Arkansas.[3]

Democratic primary

The Democratic primary carried significant weight during the Solid South period, with a primary win essentially tantamount to election. The Republicans selected their candidate in April at their state convention, and many Republicans also voted in the Democrat's open primary. Illustrating the strength of Democratic hegemony, the Fayetteville Daily Democrat published a photo of Futrell after the primary under the headline "Next Governor", three months before the general election. The caption claimed Futrell "possibly will be conceded the office by members of all parties".[4]

Current governor Harvey Parnell had recently completed two terms, and declined to run for reelection. Though Parnell had enjoyed early popularity as a reform governor, he had become deeply unpopular following the start of the Great Depression, and the perceived flaws of the Martineau Road Law, which he was instrumental in passing as Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas. By February 1933, the situation had devolved so far, the Arkansas House of Representatives adopted a resolution describing the Parnell administration as "the most corrupt since the days of reconstruction and the most extravagant and wasteful in the history of the state". Many Arkansans blamed Parnell for their hardships in the Great Depression, and his unpopularity caused candidates to dodge his endorsement throughout the contest.[5]

Candidates

A diverse group of state and local politicians sought the nomination, with as many as ten candidates running in the early months. The broad field began to narrow a month before the August primary, with campaign rhetoric and candidate mudslinging also rising. On primary day, August 9, 1932, there was a seven-man field, with four serious candidates: Dwight H. Blackwood of Osceola, chairman of the powerful Arkansas State Highway Commission, chancery judge Junius Marion Futrell of Paragould, former governor Tom J. Terral, and circuit judge A.B. Priddy of Russellville.

Declared

Blackwood's campaign was managed by Lee Seamster, a prominent judge from Fayetteville. Futrell's campaign was managed by C.E. Johnson, a chancery judge from Texarkana, and Griffin Smith, who would become an associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Withdrew

Declined

Results

Public sentiment toward the Parnell administration turned the 1932 election debate toward corruption and good government reforms. One of the main issues was corruption at the Arkansas Highway Department, which is directed by the State Highway Commission, chaired by Blackwood. Public schools were also an issue in the race.[23]

Priddy promised "a brand new deal", borrowing the term from President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Priddy strongly opposed Blackwood's continued service on the Highway Commission, making a campaign promise to unseat him if elected. Blackwood had "boasted" he could not be removed from the Highway Commission unless indicted. Though Priddy had never supported the Parnell administration, Priddy was known as the governor's favored choice, though he did not give an official endorsement.[24] Priddy also accused former governor Terral of aligning with Blackwood, saying "the difference would be in name only if either should be elected governor".[25] Futrell had previously served on an audit committee tasked with investigating the Highway Commission, but resigned before publishing a report. Priddy used his resignation to tar and feather Futrell, and link him to the Blackwood and Parnell as corrupt.

Futrell was a reluctant candidate, saying after winning the Democratic primary, "had no ambition to become governor and would prefer to serve out my time as chancellor among the people who know me best".[26] A planter from Paragould in Northeast Arkansas, Futrell had significant state government experience, but retained everyman credentials, nicknamed "the commoner from Paragould".[27] Futrell emphasized retrenchment and good government reforms, including proposal of a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget.[28][29] Arkansas was facing a $15 million shortfall in 1933-1934, and the repayment of $146 million of highway bonds under the Martineau Road Law now seemed insurmountable.[30] Futrell planned to modify the funding of highways upon election to ensure a balanced budget.

Democratic primary, 1932[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Junius Marion Futrell 124,139 44.0
Democratic Tom J. Terral 59,066 20.9
Democratic A.B. Priddy 37,134 13.2
Democratic Dwight H. Blackwood 33,147 11.8
Democratic Howard Reed 12,117 4.3
Democratic W.P. Wilson 7,709 2.7
Democratic Other candidates 5,188 1.8
Democratic Arley Woodrow 3,541 1.3
Total votes 282,041 100.0

The Democratic primary was a dramatic fight played out via accusations in the press, and ultimately widened major rifts in the party. Though Parnell and Blackwood were already political rivals, the battle continued to escalate. Allegations of corruption flew among several of the candidates, positing other candidates as "members of the machine" or colluding as a political "gang".[32] Parnell was initially thought to run for Senate, but declined and decided to retire from politics, but remained active in the 1932 primary. On July 24, reports emerged that Governor Parnell had switched his support from Priddy to Futrell.[33] Parnell issued a statement, saying "his only interest in the present campaign was to defeat Dwight H. Blackwood".[34] Following Futrell's win, Parnell removed Howard Reed from his state comptroller's position, allegedly for refusing to withdraw as a gubernatorial candidate. Parnell appointed Griffin Smith, manager of Futrell's campaign, to replace Reed. Four of Arkansas's constitutional officers condemned the firing in a statement, calling it "untimely to say the least".[35]

Futrell tried to strike a conciliatory tone, saying "in the discharge of my duties as governor, all bitterness of the controversy will be forgotten, and the earnest co-operation of those who opposed me, and those who supported me, is necessary".[36] He also condemned the overheated rhetoric of the campaign, saying "one thing has been definitely established: A campaign of slander and misrepresentation cannot succeed."[37]

The Democratic state convention was held September 8-10 in Hot Springs. Representative of the conservative wing having taken control of the convention, it adopted as first plank of the party platform, "drastic curtailment of government expenditures and other reforms".[38]

Republicans

Republicans did not hold primaries in Arkansas until the 1960s, instead nominating their candidates at the state convention. The Republican convention was held in Little Rock on April 26, 1932.[39] James O. Livesay, a lawyer and judge from Foreman, and Republican candidate for governor in 1930, was nominated as the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

Third parties

Candidates

Declared

General election

Turnout was expected to be high, mostly due to five constitutional amendments and three initiated acts listed on the November 1932 ballot. It was the longest ballot in Arkansas to date.[42] On election day, turnout broke state records, exceeding even optimistic predictions.

Results

Arkansas gubernatorial election, 1932[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Junius Marion Futrell 200,612 90.4
Republican James O. Livesay 19,713 8.9
Liberty Clay Faulks 911 0.4
Socialist Clay Faulks 461 0.2
Communist H.C. Coney 174 0.0
Total votes 221,817 100.0
Democratic hold

References

  1. ^ "Elections" (1950), pp. 25-26.
  2. ^ "Elections" (1950), pp. 25-26.
  3. ^ "Arkansas" (2002), p. 321.
  4. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (August 10, 1932). "Next Governor". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (222). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  5. ^ "Denying" (1932), p. 1.
  6. ^ "Seeking" (1932), p. 1.
  7. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 7.
  8. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 7.
  9. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 7.
  10. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 7.
  11. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 9.
  12. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 9.
  13. ^ "Seeking" (1932), p. 1.
  14. ^ "Caudle" (1932), p. 9.
  15. ^ "Seeking" (1932), p. 1.
  16. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (June 3, 1932). "Gubernatorial Candidate to Speak Sat'day". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (165). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 6. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  17. ^ "Seeking" (1932), p. 1.
  18. ^ "Seeking" (1932), p. 1.
  19. ^ "Seeking" (1932), p. 1.
  20. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (February 12, 1932). "Seamster Now in Little Rock". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 38 (69). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  21. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (February 8, 1932). "Lee Seamster May Run for Governorship". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 38 (65). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  22. ^ Staff of the United Press (July 11, 1932). "Lee Seamster to Guide Blackwood's Campaign". Blytheville Courier News. 29 (98). Blytheville: The Courier News Company. p. 1 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  23. ^ Staff of the Hope Star (April 11, 1932). "Five Now in Race for Governorship". Hope Star. 33 (142). Hope: Star Publishing Company. p. 1, 3. OCLC 23187909 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  24. ^ "Denying" (1932), p. 1.
  25. ^ "Capacity" (1932), p. 1.
  26. ^ "Personal" (1932), p. 1.
  27. ^ "Priddy" (1932), p. 13.
  28. ^ "Personal" (1932), p. 1.
  29. ^ "Arkansas" (2002), p. 321.
  30. ^ "Governors" (1995), p. 185.
  31. ^ "Elections" (1950), p. 25.
  32. ^ "Priddy" (1932), p. 13.
  33. ^ "Denying" (1932), p. 1.
  34. ^ "Denying" (1932), p. 1.
  35. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (August 17, 1932). "Many Against Parnell Move". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (228). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  36. ^ "Personal" (1932), p. 1.
  37. ^ "Personal" (1932), p. 1.
  38. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (September 10, 1932). "Futrell Not to Urge Any Solon Choice". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (249). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  39. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (April 27, 1932). "'Bone Dry' Plank G.O.P. State Move". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 38 (133). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 5. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  40. ^ "Ballot" (1932), p. 1.
  41. ^ "Ballot" (1932), p. 1.
  42. ^ Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (November 7, 1932). "State Voters Ready to Poll to New Record". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (298). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  43. ^ "Elections" (1950), pp. 25-26.
  • Arnold, Morris S.; DeBlack, Thomas A.; Sabo III, George; Whayne, Jeannie M. (2002). Arkansas: A narrative history (1st ed.). Fayetteville, Arkansas: The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-724-4. OCLC 49029558. 
  • Donovan, Timothy Paul; Gatewood, Willard B.; Whayne, Jeannie M., eds. (1995). The Governors of Arkansas: Essays in Political Biography (2 ed.). University of Arkansas Press. 
  • Heard, Alexander; Strong, Donald S. (1950). Southern Primaries and Elections, 1920-1949. University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press. OCLC 500982. 
  • Priddy, A.B. (August 4, 1932). "A.B. Priddy for Governor". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 48 (30). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 5. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  • Staff of the Associated Press (August 4, 1932). "Caudle Quits, Favors Terral". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 48 (30). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. pp. 1, 7, 9. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  • Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (April 11, 1932). "Seven Seeking Governor Post". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 38 (119). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  • Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (July 26, 1932). "Double Political Speaking by Bodenhamer, Priddy Draws Capacity Attendance". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (210). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  • Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (July 26, 1932). "Candidates are Denying Parnell Aid". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (210). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  • Staff of the Fayetteville Daily Democrat (August 10, 1932). "Futrell Says His Victory Not Personal". Fayetteville Daily Democrat. 37 (222). Fayetteville: Fayetteville Democrat Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18126013 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
  • Staff of the Harrison Daily Times (November 4, 1932). "Here's Copy of Tuesday's Ballot". Harrison Daily Times. 14 (30). Harrison: Times Publishing Company. p. 1. OCLC 18545584 – via NewspaperARCHIVE. 
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