Howard Hollis "Bo" Callaway (b. 1927)

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Bo Callaway has the distinction of being the first Republican congressman from Georgia since 1875. He also attempted to become the first Republican governor since 1872. Although Callaway received the most popular votes for governor in the 1966 general election, the presence of a write-in candidate prevented him from receiving the constitutionally required majority. The election was thrown to the Democratic-dominated legislature, which chose its own party's candidate, Lester Maddox. He is part of the prominent Callaway family of Georgia.

Early Life

Howard Hollis Callaway is the third child of Virginia Hollis Hand, of Pelham, and Cason Jewell Callaway. Born in LaGrange on April 2, 1927, Callaway attended public schools in LaGrange and Hamilton and graduated from a private high school in Virginia. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta (1944-45) and graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, in 1949. After completing his military obligations in 1952, Callaway returned home to Georgia in 1953 to help his father develop and run Callaway Gardens, a multipurpose family resort at Pine Mountain, in Harris County. Callaway married Elizabeth Walton in 1949, and they have five children.

Political Career

In the state's Democratic bifactional politics in the 1950s and early 1960s, Callaway had supported the Eugene Talmadge faction. He switched to the Republican Party in 1964 and actively supported Republican presidential candidate Barry M. Goldwater. In the same year he also ran for public office for the first time, winning a congressional race. Callaway compiled a conservative voting record in his one term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Callaway entered the 1966 gubernatorial election as the Republican candidate against the Democratic nominee, Lester Maddox, who had upset the front-runner in the Democratic primary, former governor Ellis Arnall. Some voters, upset by the party nominees' conservatism, supported a write-in effort on behalf of the more progressive Arnall. Callaway received a slim plurality in the general election but failed to win a majority of the votes because of the write-in. The state constitution required that a candidate receive a majority of the votes to be elected. It further provided that the state legislature would elect the governor if no candidate received a majority vote in the general election. Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the legislature's right to elect the next governor. The overwhelmingly Democratic legislature subsequently elected Maddox.
Callaway moved to Colorado in the 1970s, serving as chairman and president of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. He was secretary of the army in the administrations of U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and headed President Ford's 1976 campaign committee. In 1980 he successfully sought the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate from Colorado. Callaway was a member of the Republican National Committee and chair of the Colorado Republican Party. Other public service activities included chairing the GOP action committee and the board of trustees of the Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge, as well as serving on the board of directors of the Free Congress Foundation.

Business Career

Callaway returned to Callaway Gardens in 1993. He serves as chairman of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation Board of Trustees. His other business activities include membership on numerous corporate boards. He has also served as vice president of the state chamber of commerce, president and chief executive officer of Interfinancial, Inc., and international president of the Young Presidents Organization.
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Further Reading
Harold Paulk Henderson, "The 1966 Gubernatorial Election in Georgia" (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern Mississippi, 1982).

Lester Garfield Maddox, Speaking Out: The Autobiography of Lester Garfield Maddox (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975).

Matt Winn Williamson, "Contemporary Tendencies toward a Two-Party System in Georgia" (Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1969).
Cite This Article
Henderson, Harold P. "Howard Hollis "Bo" Callaway (b. 1927)." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 06 August 2013. Web. 21 August 2014.
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Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries