Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1966

Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1966
November 8, 1966 (1966-11-08)

Candidate Ray Shafer Milton Shapp
Party Republican Democratic
Running mate Ray Broderick Leonard Staisey
Popular vote 2,110,349 1,868,719
Percentage 52.1% 46.1%

County results

Governor before election

Bill Scranton

Elected Governor

Ray Shafer

The Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 1966 was held on November 8. Republican Ray Shafer, the state's incumbent Lieutenant Governor, was elected to the state's highest office after holding off a charge from future governor Milton Shapp.


Lieutenant Governor Ray Shafer was endorsed by the party establishment and cruised to a primary win. His main opponent was the well known Harold Stassen, the liberal and somewhat eccentric former governor of Minnesota who had retired from the presidency of the University of Pennsylvania.

Milton Shapp, a wealthy and progressive electronics executive, used his own money to score an upset in the Democratic primary over the party establishment's choice, Bob Casey. Casey, who would later win the governorship in 1986, was a more conservative politician who relied on labor and rural support over the urban and suburban base that Shapp courted.

Pennsylvania gubernatorial Democratic primary election, 1966[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Milton Shapp 543,057 48.59
Democratic Bob Casey 493,866 44.19
Democratic Edwin Murray 80,803 7.23
Pennsylvania gubernatorial Republican primary election, 1966[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ray Shafer 835,768 78.02
Republican Harold Stassen 172,150 16.07
Republican George Brett 63,366 5.92

Major candidates



(Walter Alessandroni was killed in a plane crash when it was too late to change the ballot for the primary, and was posthumously chosen for the Republican Lt. Gov. nomination; the party then selected Broderick)


Shapp ran a spirited campaign, where he tagged himself as a "man against the machine", but the ambivalence of party leaders toward his renegade candidacy may have ultimately led to his defeat; his campaign was also hurt by fierce opposition from the Philadelphia media, over Shapp's personal involvement in attempting to stop the buyout of the Pennsylvania Railroad.[3]

In contrast to Shapp's exuberant campaign, Shafer had difficulty getting his campaign stabilized, particularly after the original nominee for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General Walter Alessandroni, was killed in an aviation accident. Shafer ran on a solid record as a liberal Republican, but struggled to escape the reputation that his career was dependent upon Governor Bill Scranton; although he was able to collect the resources that would allow him to compete financially with Shapp due to a solid fundraising prowess, he was forced to spend much of the early portion of the campaign defending his independence. However, the party split within Democratic ranks proved too much for Shapp to overcome, and Shafer won a moderate victory.[4][5]

The campaign was smeared by charges of discrimination by both candidates. The Jewish Shapp faced anti-Semetic commentary at many of his rallies and accused GOP committees in several counties of attempted to frighten voters by emphasizing hateful, outdated myths about the Democrat's religion. In contrast, Shafer asserted that Democrats were attempted to portray him as a racist; in the closing weeks of the campaign, pamphlets were distributed in minority neighborhoods, which alleged that Shafer's home included a restrictive covenant that would stop the sale of his property to any non-Caucasians.[4]


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1966[6][7]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage
Republican Ray Shafer Ray Broderick 2,110,349 52.1
Democratic Milton Shapp Leonard Staisey 1,868,719 46.1
Constitutional Ed Swartz Rick Swaney 57,073 1.4
Socialist Workers George Taylor Herman Johansen 14,527 .3%


  3. Pierre, Garry (26 November 1994). "Milton J. Shapp Is Dead at 82: Ex-Governor of Pennsylvania". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  4. 1 2 Kennedy, John J. (2006). Pennsylvania Elections: Statewide Contests From 1950-2004. University Press of America. ISBN 9780761832799.
  5. "Raymond P. Shafer, Allegheny's Governor of Pennsylvania". Allegheny College. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  6. The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 626.
  7. The Pennsylvania Manual, p. 625.
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