Governor's Race of 1946

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  • Since they wrote me in, I should be the governor. Right?
  • WRONG!  The new state constitution created the office of lieutenant governor
  •  According to the state constitution, election results were not official until certified by the General Assembly. Thompson wanted the General Assembly to certify the returns so that, as the official lieutenant governor–elect, he would have a stronger claim to the governorship. Talmadge forces, however, won a close vote to delay certifying the vote and to move immediately to select a new governor. On January 15, 1947, the General Assembly elected Herman Talmadge as governor. 
  • I, Melvin E. Thompson, am once again ready to dispute this decision.
  • Did you really believe that I, Ellis Arnall, would stand for that? I refuse to leave to the office.
  • the outgoing governor, Ellis Arnall, announced that he would not relinquish the office until it was clear who the new governor was. Arnall's actions galvanized Talmadge's supporters, who bitterly hated his anti-Talmadge policies. The legislature's election of Talmadge provoked a confrontation between the Talmadge and Arnall camps. Although the two politicians maintained their decorum, fistfights broke out among their followers.
  • In March 1947 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Melvin E. Thompson was the rightful governor because he was lieutenant governor–elect when Eugene Talmadge died.
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