Date of Award

Summer 1982

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

James R. Sweeney

Committee Member

Peter C. Stewart

Committee Member

D. Alan Harris

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 P2


In Virginia, the Democratic Party primacy, since its inception in 1905, was tantamount to election as every party nominee won the general election. During the 1969 Democratic party gubernatorial primary, however, bitter intra-party rivalry between the conservative, moderate, and liberal factions coupled with the conflicting personalities of the three gubernatorial candidates, William C. Battle, Henry E. Howell, Jr., and Fred G. Pollard, left the party badly divided. Ultimately, the party's gubernatorial nominee, William C. Battle, failed to harmonize the three conflicting factions and, therefore, lost in the election to the Republican candidate, A. Linwood Holton. The 1969 primary also witnessed the demise of Harry Flood Byrd's political dynasty which had dominated Virginia politics since 1925. This study examines the intense rivalry during the July gubernatorial primary and the run-off, and explains how it became a watershed in Virginia politics.


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