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This Day in Georgia History

October 01, 1940

Florence Gibbs Elected

Florence Gibbs was elected to Congress, technically becoming the first woman from Georgia to be elected to Congress. On Aug. 7, 1940, 8th district congressman W. Benjamin Gibbs died near the end of his freshman term. Gov. E.D. Rivers subsequently called for a special election on Oct. 1 to fill the remaining three months of his term. Gibbs’ widow, Florence Reville Gibbs, had no political experience or ambitions but she agreed to run in the special election to complete her husband’s term - but not in that fall’s general election for a full two-year term. In the special election, Florence Gibbs was the only person on the ballot. And in a very low turnout, voters elected her in what probably was a sympathy vote. Subsequently, she was sworn in the U.S. House on Oct. 3 but never given a committee assignment. After completing her husband’s term on Jan. 3, 1941, Florence Gibbs returned to Georgia and never again was involved in politics.