Skip to main content

Campaign Files, 1966 (defeated Donald Russell in the Democratic primary and Marshall Parker in the General Election for the U.S. Senate)


Campaign for U.S. Senate, 1966

In the 1966 Senate campaign, former governor Ernest Hollings challenged the incumbent, Donald Russell, in the June Democratic primary. Russell, who followed Hollings as governor in 1963, resigned the governor's office in 1965 following the death of Senator Olin D. Johnston, and was then appointed by the new governor, Robert McNair, to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat. After winning the Democratic nomination, Hollings went on to narrowly defeat the Republican nominee, Marshall J. Parker, a state senator from Oconee, in the general election.

Six feet of material document this campaign. Hollings' early interest in the vacated Johnston seat, campaign strategy, and the political climate in South Carolina are discussed with a great deal of candor in correspondence in the General file. The file is comprised mainly of correspondence, 1964-1966. Most of the correspondence deals with the Democratic primary rather than the general election. Crawford Cook, a frequent correspondent, served as director of public relations for the Municipal Association of South Carolina. Cook became Hollings' campaign manager in 1966. Of particular interest is a letter, January 11, 1966, from Hollings to John E. Kraft, a New York pollster. Hollings offered a blunt appraisal of politics in South Carolina in the mid-1960s. Commenting upon the farm vote Hollings said--"The farm vote in the Pee Dee and Lowcountry can be looked upon as an indication by group. They recite the Declaration of Independence at sunrise and are prepared to assault the central government in Washington, but in Balinese fashion they have one hand out behind willingly accepting all subsidies. Their vote differs from their conservative speech in that they vote controls and subsidies. And what disturbs them should prove interesting."

The Correspondence files contain numerous responses to an inquiry Hollings mailed to supporters throughout the state early in 1966 which raised the possibility of his challenging Russell and asked their opinion of his chances. Responses come from virtually every county across the state and do not necessarily represent the established political leadership. The letters present a fascinating insight into the political climate of the time. Comments were not limited to the upcoming Senate race, but covered the whole spectrum of South Carolina politics in the mid-1960s. These letters are arranged by county and include correspondence with supporters in Washington, D.C. An extensive file on the national Democratic Party chiefly contains information provided the candidate by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee concerning Great Society legislation. Files on particular persons include newsletters from both the Russell and Thurmond offices, and files on Donald Russell and Marshall Parker. A file on New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy indicates the trouble Hollings faced in the general election explaining his past ties to the Kennedy family. Publicity files include records of Hollings' advertising spending, negotiations with newspapers, television and radio stations, copies of radio scripts, and drafts of television commercials.

Topical files include information on labor, health care, and the state Republican Party.


  • 1966 (defeated Donald Russell in the Democratic primary and Marshall Parker in the General Election for the U.S. Senate)


From the Collection: 800 Linear Feet


Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA