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Joseph O. Rogers, Jr. Papers

Joseph O. Rogers was the first gubernatorial candidate of the modern Republican Party in South Carolina. Elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives as a Democrat for Clarendon County, he served six consecutive terms, 1955-1967.

Rogers, Joseph O., Jr. (1921-1999)

Papers, 1942-1999, 1.25 ft.

Rogers gradually became discouraged with what he viewed as a lack of resolve on the part of South Carolina Democrats to resist federal encroachment into the affairs of state government. On March 7, 1966, Rogers formally announced that he was switching to the Republican Party, and he became the first Republican candidate for the governor's office in the 20th century, challenging incumbent Governor Robert E. McNair with a platform that stressed local control of schools and strong state leadership. Rogers was unable to defeat the popular incumbent, but did poll 188,000 votes to McNair's 255,000. He later served as U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina from 1969 to 1970, and was considered for a federal judgeship in 1970.

Collection Finding Aid
The collection documents Rogers' service in the South Carolina House of Representatives and as U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina; his 1966 bid for governor; and his leadership in the Republican Party.

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