Jim Folsom, Jr.: Wikis


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James Elisha Folsom, Jr.

In office
April 22, 1993 – January 16, 1995
Lieutenant None
Preceded by H. Guy Hunt
Succeeded by Fob James

In office
January 19, 1987 – April 22, 1993
Governor H. Guy Hunt
Preceded by Bill Baxley
Succeeded by Don Siegelman

Assumed office 
January 15, 2007
Governor Bob Riley
Preceded by Lucy Baxley

Born May 14, 1949 ( 1949-05-14) (age 60)
Montgomery, Alabama
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marsha Guthrie
Profession Business, Politician
Religion Episcopalian

James Elisha Folsom, Jr. (born 14 May 1949) is an American Democratic politician who was the 50th Governor of Alabama from 1993 to 1995, and is currently the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama under Republican Governor Bob Riley.


Early life and career

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, he is the son of legendary two-term Alabama Governor James E. "Big Jim" Folsom, Sr. Despite being well over six feet tall, he is popularly known as "Little Jim" as a result. In 1974, he graduated from Jacksonville State University, where he presently serves as a trustee.

During his first run for a political office, he lost to incumbent Congressman Tom Bevill in a Democratic primary by an overwhelming margin. However he was elected to the Alabama Public Service Commission in 1978 and re-elected in 1982.

In 1980, he ran for the U.S. Senate and defeated incumbent Donald W. Stewart in the Democratic primary. During a campaign Folsom attacked Stewart as being too liberal for Alabama and called him "puppet of the great Washington power structure". Although Stewart outspent Folsom with 500,000 to 75,000 USD, he very narrowly missed winning majority in the primary and lost in the runoff[1].

Folsom narrowly lost the general election to Republican Jeremiah Denton, who was aided by the Ronald Reagan landslide, which helped Republican candidates across the country.

Folsom was elected Alabama Lieutenant Governor and served from 1987 to 1993 (being re-elected in 1990). He served under Governor H. Guy Hunt, the first Republican Alabama Governor since Reconstruction. Hunt and Folsom also happen to be from the same (Cullman) county.


Official gubernatorial portrait of Jim Folsom, Jr.

Folsom assumed the governorship when Hunt was removed from office, convicted of state ethics law violations regarding the funding of Hunt's second inaugural ceremonies.

Only weeks after Folsom assumed the office, state officials were approached by Mercedes-Benz about the possibility of locating its first manufacturing plant outside Germany in Alabama. Over the following months, Folsom led Alabama's efforts to recruit the facility, culminating in an October 1993 announcement that Alabama had beaten 30 other states for the coveted facility. The prestige of the Mercedes plant opened the door for future automotive plants to locate in the state.[2]

Within six days after taking office Governor Folsom ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol to a memorial.[3]. His "Chief of Staff" was longtime friend and confidant, Charlie Waldrep, of Waldrep, Stewart & Kendrick, LLC. Governor Folsom also appointed a number of African Americans and women to his staff[4].

In 1994, he ran for a full term. Despite his record he was very narrowly defeated by former Democratic Governor Fob James, who was running as a Republican. Although Folsom was regarded as a popular Governor, a Republican landslide across the country during midterm elections helped James enough to unseat Folsom by a slim margin.

Post-governorship and return to politics

In 2006, Folsom reentered state politics, running again as the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor. He won the Democratic nomination unopposed, and in the general election, he narrowly defeated Republican lawyer Luther Strange.

Folsom endorsed former Governor of Vermont Howard Dean in 2004 Democratic presidential primaries[5]. In the 1988 primaries, he supported Al Gore.

Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. announced on April 1, 2009 he would seek re-election as Lieutenant Governor in 2010 and will not run for the Democratic nomination for Governor. [1]

Folsom is married to the former Marsha Guthrie. They have two children. He is an Episcopalian.

Electoral history

Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives - AL 4th district, 1976

  • Tom Bevill (Inc.) - 90,168 (80.87%)
  • Jim Folsom, Jr. - 21,335 (19.13%)

Democratic primary for the United States Senate, 1980

  • Donald W. Stewart (Inc.) - 222,540 (48.63%)
  • Jim Folsom, Jr. - 163,196 (35.67%)
  • Finis St. John - 51,260 (11.20%)
  • Margaret E. Stewart - 20,582 (4.50%)

Democratic runoff for the United States Senate, 1980

Alabama United States Senate election, 1980

  • Jeremiah Denton (R) - 650,363 (50.15%)
  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) - 610,175 (47.05%)

Democratic primary for Lt. Governor, 1986

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. - 331,527 (37.72%)
  • John Teague - 277,899 (31.62%)
  • Hinton Mitchem - 203,112 (23.11%)
  • Melba Till Allen - 66,439 (7.56%)

Democratic runoff for Lt. Governor, 1986

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. - 517,724 (57.49%)
  • John Teague - 382,836 (42.51

Election for Lieutenant Governor, 1986

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) - 726,111 (61.85%)
  • Don McGriff (R) - 447,978 (38.16%)

Democratic primary for Lt. Governor, 1990

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (Inc.) - 510,814 (80.87%)
  • William McKinley Branch - 120,861 (19.13%)

Election for Lieutenant Governor, 1990

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) (Inc.) - 768,988 (67.33%)
  • Bob McKee (R) - 373,072 (32.67%)

Democratic primary for Governor, 1994

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (Inc.) - 380,227 (54.04%)
  • Paul R. Hubbert - 285,554 (40.59%)
  • Margaret E. Stewart - 24,254 (3.45%)
  • Tom Hayden - 13,532 (1.92%)

Alabama gubernatorial election, 1994

  • Fob James (R) - 604,926 (50.33%)
  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) (Inc.) - 594,169 (49.43%)

Democratic primary for Lt. Governor, 2006

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. - unopposed

Election for Lieutenant Governor, 2006

  • Jim Folsom, Jr. (D) - 629,268 (50.61%)
  • Luther Strange (R) - 610,982 (49.14%)
  • Write-in candidates - 3,029 (0.24%)

Source: [2]


  1. ^ Alan Abramowitz, Jeffrey Allan Segal, Senate Elections. First thorough study of modern elections to the U.S. Senate, University of Michigan Press, 1992, ISBN 0472081926, 9780472081929
  2. ^ "Mercedes Picks State for Plant," The Huntsville Times, September 29, 1993, p. A1
  3. ^ "Rebel Flag Could Have Cost State Mercedes Plant," The Huntsville Times, October 2, 1993, p.A2
  4. ^ http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1503
  5. ^ Our Campaigns - Candidate - James E. "Jim" Folsom, Jr

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Baxley
Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Don Siegelman
Preceded by
H. Guy Hunt
Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Fob James
Preceded by
Lucy Baxley
Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Donald W. Stewart
Democratic Party nominee for United States Senator from Alabama
(Class 3)

1980 (lost)
Succeeded by
Richard Shelby
Preceded by
Bill Baxley
Democratic Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
1986 (won), 1990 (won)
Succeeded by
Don Siegelman
Preceded by
Paul R. Hubbert
Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Alabama
1994 (lost)
Succeeded by
Don Siegelman
Preceded by
Lucy Baxley
Democratic Party nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
2006 (won)
Succeeded by
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General
United States order of precedence
Lieutenant Governor of Alabama
Succeeded by
Beth Edmonds
Maine Senate President


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