Dolph Briscoe survived a surprisingly strong challenge from Republican Henry Grover on Nov. 7, 1972, but the 6% showing by the Raza Unida candidate made the Democrat the first Texas governor in 78 years elected without a clear majority of the votes.

State law can be confusing when it comes to choosing the chief executive. Since 1918, the two main political parties have been required to hold a runoff, if no contestant receives half of the primary vote. Not so in the general election, which has always been a winner-takes-all contest.

Bartee Haile writes This Week In Texas History which appears every Sunday. He welcomes your comments and questions barteehaile@gmail.com or P.O. Box 130011, Spring, TX 77393 and invites you to visit his website at barteehaile.com.

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