The 1936 North Carolina gubernatorial race pitted three men against one other. In the one-party Democratic south, the winner of the Democratic primary was essentially the election winner. In the 1936 race, two different Democratic factions were represented, the conservative and the liberal. Clyde R. Hoey and A. H. Graham both ran as conservative Democrats. Hoey also enjoyed the backing of former governor, O. Max Gardner. While Gardner was not the current governor, he controlled the conservative faction that was known as the â€œMachineâ€ or the â€œShelby Dynasty.â€ Ralph W. McDonald ran as the liberal candidate, and he wished to create a New Deal for North Carolinians. Campaign debates centered on the creation of a sales tax that would help cover the state's debt. McDonald, a young newcomer from Illinois, was considered an underdog; however, his anti-tax policies quickly gained support. Hoey and McDonald won a runoff following the first primary. The campaign race between Hoey and McDonald grew ugly and has been described as one of the nastiest campaigns in the state's history. Hoey and the Shelby Dynasty swept the election as the liberal faction lost several other state races.