James Hovis Hodges

84th Governor of the State of South Carolina 1999 to 2003

Date Born: November 19, 1956

Date Died: Living

Place Born: Lancaster, SC

Place Buried: TBD

Residence: Lancaster, SC, then Columbia, SC

Occupation: Lawyer,
General Counsel


Lancaster High School: 1975
Davidson College
University of South Carolina, B.S., Business Administration: 1979
University of South Carolina School of Law: 1982

South Carolina House of Representatives: 1987-1997

1998 General Election - James Hovis Hodges defeated David Muldrow Beasley and Timothy Moultrie for the office of governor. Hodges was the first candidate to defeat an incumbent governor in a general election since Wade Hampton III defeated Gov. Daniel Henry Chamberlain in 1876


James Hovis Hodges was born on November 19, 1956 in Lancaster, SC. He attended Davidson College and then the University of South Carolina, where he graduated with a business degree in 1979. Hodges then earned a juris doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1982.

After graduation, Hodges resettled in Lancaster, SC to practice law. He became Lancaster County Attorney.

James Hovis Hodges married Rachel. They have two sons.

In 1986, James Hovis Hodges was first elected in a special election to represent the House District No. 45, which included the northern part of Lancaster County, in the House of Representatives of the:
- 107th General Election that met from 1987-1988 - replaced Tom Gibson Mangum, who died in office
- 108th General Election that met from 1989-1990
- 109th General Election that met from 1991-1992
- 110th General Election that met from 1993-1994
- 111th General Election that met from 1995-1996
- 112th General Election that met from 1997-1998 - resigned on December 5, 1997

From 1990 to 1997, James Hovis Hodges served as General Counsel and Secretary of the Springs Company. While there, he also served on the Springs Company board of directors working with a variety of affiliates including Kanawha Insurance Company, Lancaster and Chester Railway Company (L&C RR), Charter Properties, various Springs real estate development companies, and the Springs and Close Foundations.

In the 1998 general election, James Hovis Hodges was elected as Governor of South Carolina, defeating the incumbent Gov. David Muldrow Beasley. He was inaugurated on January 13, 1999, and he left office after one term on January 15, 2003.

Gov. Hodges worked to add the Martin Luther King Holiday to the state's official calendars. He played an instrumental role in moving the Confederate flag from the State Capitol's dome to its grounds. He also instituted the construction of the New Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, which is North America's longest cabled spanned bridge.

He endured harsh criticism for mistakes during the evacuation of Charleston and the lowcountry during 1999's Hurricane Floyd. Newspapers across South Carolina, particularly Charleston, chastised Hodges for not making traffic along South Carolina's I-26 one-way, to avoid the severe traffic jams that occurred as residents tried to flee the storm's path.

Gov. Hodges defended his evacuation plan, telling the press in 1999 that the process of moving hundreds of thousands of people inland still occurred in a timely manner. "I think we need to put things in perspective here," Hodges said. "This was the largest peacetime evacuation in the history of the United States, and it was all done in about a twelve or a twenty-four hour period. When you have 800,000 South Carolinians leaving the coast, coupled with over a million from other areas below us in Georgia and Florida, you're going to have traffic problems."

During his tenure, Hodges also signed a bill encouraging schools to get students to say "Yes, sir," and "Yes, ma'am" to teachers. He announced a plan to raise teacher salaries to the national average by 2007, and opposed tying the raises to teacher performance. However, despite his electoral promises on education, many South Carolina schools were severely underfunded during his term.

In his 2002 bid for re-election, Gov. Hodges faced a very strong challenge from former U.S. Congressman Mark Sanford. Like his 1998 bid, the race concentrated on issues such as education and the state budget. But South Carolina itself has become a solidly Republican state over the years, and Sanford defeated Hodges in the general election.

After leaving the governor's office, James Hovis Hodges joined Charlotte-based Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, LLP as a partner. In addition, he served as CEO of Hodges Consulting Group, a business-to- government solutions firm located in Columbia, SC.

James Hovis Hodges is also a partner with McGuireWoods, LLP and a senior advisor with McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC. He advises clients on energy, healthcare, education, economic development, and other issues, dividing his time between Washington, DC, and Columbia, SC.


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