Carroll Campbell

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Carroll Ashmore Campbell, Jr.

In office
January 14, 1987 – January 11, 1995
Preceded by Richard Wilson Riley
Succeeded by David Muldrow Beasley

Chairman of the
National Governors Association
In office
August 17, 1993 – July 19, 1994
Preceded by Roy Romer (Colorado)
Succeeded by Howard Dean (Vermont)

U. S. Representative for South Carolina's 4th congressional district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by James Robert Mann
Succeeded by Liz Johnston Patterson

South Carolina State Senator
for the 2nd district
In office
January 11, 1977 – November 6, 1978
Preceded by Richard Wilson Riley
Succeeded by Jeff Richardson

South Carolina State Representative
for Greenville County
In office
December 1970 – December 1974
Preceded by Thomas Wesley Greene
Succeeded by District eliminated

Born July 24, 1940
Greenville, South Carolina.
Died December 7, 2005 (aged 65)
West Columbia, South Carolina.
Resting place All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery in Pawleys Island
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Iris Rhodes Campbell (married 1959-2005, his death)
Children Michael Campbell
Carroll A. Campbell, III

Carroll, Sr., and Ann Marshall Williams Cammpbell

Alma mater University of South Carolina
American University (Master of Arts)
Religion Episcopalian

Carroll Ashmore Campbell, Jr. (July 24, 1940 – December 7, 2005), was the second Republican since Reconstruction elected as the Governor of his native South Carolina. He served two terms from 1987 to 1995. Previously, he was a U.S. Representative and a member of both houses of the state legislature. After leaving the governorship, he engaged in private business and lobbying.[1]


Born in Greenville, the largest city in western South Carolina, Campbell was the oldest of six children of Carroll A. Campbell, Sr. (1915-1997). His mother was the former Ann Marshall Williams (1916-1977). The parents divorced and are interred at separate cemeteries.[1] The senior Campbell worked in the textile mills, the furniture business, and later owned a motel in Garden City in Horry County near Myrtle Beach in eastern South Carolina.

Campbell dropped out of Greenville Senior High School; an uncle sent him to the private McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Campbell attended the University of South Carolina in the capital city of Columbia but withdrew because of financial concerns. He later received a Master of Arts from the private American University in Washington, D.C.[2]

Political career

In 1970, six years after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Campbell opposed the integration of public schools in Greenville. He spoke at a rally attended by thousands of segregationists at Parker High School. On January 25, he led an 800-vehicle motorcade to the state capital to protest "forced busing" of students to integrated schools.[3]His position on busing was much like that of later U.S. Senator and U.S. President Joe Biden of Delaware.

Campbell served as a state representative from 1971 to 1975 during the administration of Governor John C. West, who defeated Republican nominee Albert Watson, the choice of U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, in the 1970 South Carolina gubernatorial election. With Lee Atwater as a key political strategist, Campbell ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1974. He lost to the Democrat William Brantley Harvey, Jr. (1930-2018), but his ticket mate, James B. Edwards, a state senator and oral surgeon from Charleston won the governorship. Despite the loss, Campbell would continue to seek Atwater's counsel throughout his career.

From 1976 to 1978, Campbell was a state senator and the executive assistant to Governor Edwards. In 1978, Campbell was elected U.S. Representative for the Greenville-based 4th congressional district; he defeated Max Heller, the Democratic mayor of Greenville and an emigrant from Austria, to fill the seat vacated by the retiring Democrat James Robert Mann.[2] Campbell hence became the first Republican to hold the 4th district seat since Reconstruction.

He was the state campaign chairman for Ronald Reagan's successful 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns. and as southern regional chairman for George Herbert Walker Bush in 1988.

As governor, Campbell coordinated the state's response in 1989 to Hurricane Hugo. He lured BMW, a German automobile company, to build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Greer, near Greenville, South Carolina.[4] In 2002, BMW contributed $10 million for the Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center at Clemson University.

During the Campbell administration, the state was confronted with allegations of financial mismanagement at the University of South Carolina, which led to the resignation of the university president James B. Holderman.. Twenty-seven state legislators were convicted in a vote-buying scandal uncovered by a federal investigation into bribery and narcotics abuse against the lawmakers and several other individuals.[5] He was the president of the National Governor's Association from 1993 to 1994.[4] He could not run again in 1994, and he was succeeded by another Republican, David Muldrow Beasley (born 1957). He left office with a high job approval rating.

From 1995 to 2001, Campbell was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and the president and chief executive officer of the American Council of Life Insurers.[4]

In 1996, Campbell was considered as a possible vice presidential running mate for Bob Dole of Kansas but was ultimately passed over in favor of Jack Kemp, the former U.S. Representative from New York's 31st congressional district and later the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the first President Bush.Dole and Kemp lost to Bill Clinton and Al Gore

In 1998, Campbell and his wife became the co-chairmen of Winthrop University's first capital campaign. They raised more than $30 million.[6]

Family and death

Campbell eloped in 1959 with the former Iris Faye Rhodes. They had two sons, Carroll Campbell, III, and Mike Campbell, the former of whom unsuccessfully sought the 2010 Republican nomination for South Carolina's 1st congressional district to succeed Representative Henry E. Brown, Jr.; and the latter of whom was an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006. The Campbells own franchises for Wendy's restaurants in South Carolina.[7]

In October 2001, at the age of sixty-one, Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.[8] The revelation forced him to abandon plans to run for governor again in 2002. He was admitted to a long-term residential treatment facility for Alzheimer's patients in August 2005 and died four months later at Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia

He lay in state at the State House and was eulogized at memorial services at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, and at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pawleys Island in Georgetown County.[7] He is interred at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Pawley Island in Georgetown County.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Carroll Ashmore Campbell Jr. (1940-2005) - Find A Grave Memorial, accessed September 29, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cole Blease Graham, "Between a Rock and Hard Place: South Carolina's Republican Presidential Primary," Southern Cultures (Spring 1998).
  3. Judith Bainbridge (November 2, 2019). How Greenville County's public schools integrated peacefully in 1970. The Greenville News. Retrieved on October 1, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Carroll A. Campbell. National Governors Association. Retrieved on September 29, 2021.
  5. Lpu Krasky, "USC's James Holderman: From President to Criminal," The State, accessed October 1, 2021; under pay wall.
  6. Dan O'Mara, "Winthrop alum Lois Rhame West, former SC first lady and 'bright light, The Rock Hill Herald, May 6, 2014.
  7. 7.0 7.1 South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell Funeral | (en-us). Retrieved on October 1, 2021.
  8. Carroll Campbell (October 5, 2001). Letter from Carroll Campbell. The State. Retrieved on April 2, 2020.