In 1978 the MIDTERM ELECTIONS during President Carter's term saw the Republicans make gains in Congress even in the historically Democratic South. For solace, the Democrats looked to the governorships and found a rising star in Arkansas.
One of the most interesting aspects of this year's Southern elections, and the most encouraging for the Democrats, is the emergence of fresh faces. Perhaps the brightest new light is Arkansas' William Clinton, a Yale Law School graduate and Rhodes scholar, who at 32 will be the nation's youngest Governor in 40 years. He worked on the McGovern and Carter campaigns and used his tenure as attorney general to fight for consumers. He is an anomaly for both Arkansas and 1978. He said he might ask for a state tax increase if food and drugs were exempted from the sales tax; his wife is an ardent feminist who uses her maiden name, and he is a competent jazz saxophonist. He looks like a Kennedy and even breaks his campaigning for impromptu touch-football games. Along with Alabama's ["Fob"] James, 44, Florida's [Robert] Graham, 42, and South Carolina's Richard Riley, 45, he is part of a drove of Democrats who have infused fresh blood into Southern Governors' mansions and who may someday--it has happened before--be important on the national scene. --TIME, Nov. 20, 1978