OTD in History… June 7, 1966, Ronald Reagan wins GOP nomination for Governor of California

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OTD in History…June 7, 1966, Ronald Reagan wins GOP nomination for Governor of California

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan are seen at their polling place in Los Angeles on June 7, 1966.

Source: AP

On this day in history June 7, 1966, Ronald Reagan becomes the first former actor to win the Republican nomination for the governor of California. Reagan launched his candidacy on January 4, 1966, and ran for the Republican nomination against San Francisco Mayor George Christopher. Before the primary, Reagan aired a 30-minute campaign video claiming he was running on “limited government, individual freedom and adherence to the Constitution.” Just two years before, Reagan rose to political prominence delivering his “A Time for Choosing” speech at the 1964 GOP convention, although nominee Barry Goldwater faltered, Reagan used the stage to run for governor.

Reagan won his bid in November 1966 against Democratic incumbent Edmund “Pat” Brown with 57 percent of the vote running as Richard Nixon successfully would in 1968 on the law and order issue. Historian Matthew Dallek claimed in 2000 book, “The Right Moment Ronald Reagan’s First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics” with his victory, “Reagan made the conservative movement legitimate for the first time, both in California and later in the nation.” After two terms, which ended in 1975, Reagan moved on to run for the Republican presidential nomination. He ran unsuccessfully in 1976, losing out to incumbent Gerald Ford, before capturing the nomination in 1980. Reagan had two terms as president, and he is considered one of the best presidents in history.

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