Floyd D. Spence Exhibit

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Campaign Trail
On the Campaign Trail
I n his nearly forty years of public service, Floyd Spence proved to be a skillful campaigner who only grew stronger and more effective as the years progressed.
Spence in 1962
Article announcing Floyd Spence's change of party in 1962
In 1956, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. Spence, like every other member of the General Assembly since the end of Reconstruction, was elected as a Democrat. In 1962, in a move that stunned many, Spence resigned from the Democratic Party and announced that he would forego almost certain re-election to the Assembly to run instead for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. Like many in South Carolina, Spence was bothered by aspects of the Democratic platform as well as the Party's loyalty oath requirement. Spence became the first elected official in the state to change his party affiliation. In his announcement, which was printed in its entirety in The State newspaper, he stated: "I fully realize that the action I am taking puts my political future in jeopardy...I feel, however, that the welfare of my state and nation are more important than my political career."
Spence with Ike and Workman
Campaigners Spence and William D. Workman get some help from Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1962.
The 1962 campaign is a landmark in contemporary history as it represents the first significant second party challenge to the Democratic domination of the state, dating to the end of Reconstruction. Spence campaigned with journalist William D. Workman, Jr., who opposed longtime incumbent Olin Johnston for the U.S. Senate. Although both Workman and Spence were defeated, the nascent Republican Party proved it was a force in the state. Since 1962, South Carolina has slowly trended toward the Republican Party.
Spence sworn in as U.S. Representative, 1971
Spence is sworn in as U.S. Congressman by Speaker Carl Albert (D-OK) in January 1971.
Four years after his historic 1962 congressional campaign, Spence won election to the South Carolina Senate, becoming the lone Republican in that body. In 1970, he ran again for Congress. Campaigning as a "full-time conservative" on the themes of law and order, the Middle East crisis, the Vietnam War, and congressional spending, Spence defeated Heyward McDonald with 53% of the vote. Two years later, in just his first campaign for re-election, Spence was unopposed. In his subsequent campaigns, Spence was re-elected by comfortable margins.

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