The four-term Alabama governor ran for President four times once as a Democrat and three times as the candidate for the American Independent Party. In the 1968 election, he captured nearly 10 million popular votes and five southern states in his fight against Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey, appealing to pro-segregation Southerners to boost his national reputation. Just months before losing the race to Nixon, Wallace lost his wife, Lurleen, who was then serving as Alabama's governor, to cancer.
After switching to the Democrats in 1972, Wallace surprised pundits by emerging as his newfound party's frontrunner. But an attempted assassination in Maryland cut his campaign short; a gunshout wound to the spine left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Jimmy Carter beat Wallace for the nomination in 1976. He would go on to serve as Alabama's Governor for a total of 16 years. During the 1980s, Wallace renounced his previous suppport of segregation and retired from politics in 1987. Political scientists (and Wallace himself) would later credit his campaigning style for pioneering the anti-Washington, populist rhetoric embodied by Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.
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