1978 Governors Race

By Steve FlowersGuest Columnist

Since this is a gubernatorial election year, let’s reminisce about an epic Governor’s Race.  The 1978 Governor’s race is one of the classics in Alabama political lore.  That Governor’s race between the three heavyweights, former Governor Albert Brewer, Attorney General Bill Baxley, and Lt. Governor Jere Beasley, was expected to be titanic. All three men had last names beginning with the letter “B,” thus, the press coined the phrase “the three B’s.” The Republicans were relegated to insignificance on the gubernatorial stage. Therefore, the winner of the Democratic Primary would be governor.

Meanwhile, over in east Alabama, a little known former Auburn halfback named Fob James strolled into the governor’s race. Fob’s entry evoked very little interest, only curiosity as to why he would want to enter the fray against three well-known major players. Fob was exposed as a card carrying Republican but even a political novice like Fob knew he could not win as a Republican so he qualified to run as a Democrat along with the three B’s.

Fob had become very wealthy by starting a successful manufacturing company in Opelika. When Fob signed up to run for governor the press wrote him off as a rich gadfly who simply chose politics, rather than golf, as his pastime. Little did they know that the fact he was rich and had a lot of time on his hands could spell trouble for the average political opponent who had to worry about fundraising and feeding their family while running a full-time campaign.

See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.
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