1980 Indiana gubernatorial election

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Indiana gubernatorial election, 1980

← 1976 November 4, 1980 (1980-11-04) 1984 →
  Robert D. Orr.jpg No image.png
Nominee Robert D. Orr John A. Hillenbrand II
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 1,257,383 913,116
Percentage 57.7% 41.9%

Governor before election

Otis R. Bowen

Elected Governor

Robert D. Orr

The 1980 Indiana gubernatorial election was held on November 4, 1980 in all 92 counties in the state of Indiana. Otis R. Bowen, the state's incumbent governor was ineligible for a third consecutive term due to term limits set forth in the Indiana Constitution. Robert D. Orr, the state's incumbent Republican lieutenant governor, was elected to his first term, defeating John A. Hillenbrand II, and a minor party challenger.


Two candidates emerged to contest the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1980. These were John A. Hillenbrand, a businessman from Batesville, Indiana, and Wayne Townsend, who had previously served three terms in the Indiana State Senate.[2][3] Hillenbrand defeated Townsend by a relatively narrow margin of 26,403 votes, or less than five percent of all votes cast. Townsend would go on to win the Democratic nomination for governor in 1984.
Indiana Democratic primary election, 1980[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic John A. Hillenbrand II 284,182 52.44
Democratic Wayne Townsend 257,779 47.56

General election[edit]

Indiana gubernatorial election, 1980[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Robert D. Orr 1,257,383 57.72% +0.87
Democratic John A. Hillenbrand II 913,116 41.92% -0.71
American Cletis Artist 7,904 0.36% -0.09
Majority 344,267
Republican hold Swing