Mr. Bruce’s unexpected attitude necessitated a radical change in the entire program. It had been agreed that the Lieutenant-Governorship should go to a colored man, but after Brace’s declination the Ames managers were obliged to take one of two men,—H.C. Carter, or A.K. Davis. Davis was the more acceptable of the two; but neither, it was thought, was a fit and suitable man to be placed at the head of the executive department of the State. After again going over the field, and after canvassing the situation very carefully, it was decided that Ames would not be a candidate to succeed himself as United States Senator, but that he would be a candidate to succeed Senator Alcorn. This decision, in all probability, would not have been made if Alcorn had been willing to abide by the decision of the convention. But, since he announced his determination to bolt the nomination of his party for Governor and run as an Independent candidate, it was decided that he had forfeited any claim he otherwise would have had upon the party to succeed himself in the Senate. Senator Alcorn’s term would expire March 4, 1877. His successor would be elected by the Legislature that would be chosen in November, 1875. If Ames should be elected to the Governorship his successor in that office would be elected in November, 1877. In the event of his election to the Senate to succeed Senator Alcorn, his term as Senator would commence March 4, 1877, yet he could remain in the office of Governor until the meeting of Congress the following December, thus practically serving out the full term as Governor.
With that plan mapped out and agreed upon, and the party leaders committed to its support, Davis was allowed to be nominated for the office of Lieutenant-Governor. Two other colored men were also placed upon the State ticket,—James Hill, for Secretary of State, and T.W. Cardozo, for State Superintendent of Education. While Davis had made quite a creditable record as a member of the Legislature, it could not be said that his name added strength to the ticket. Hill, on the other hand, was young, active, and aggressive, and considerably above the average colored man in point of intelligence at that time. His nomination was favorably received, because it was generally believed that, if elected, he would discharge the duties of the office in a way that would reflect credit upon himself and give satisfaction to the public. In point of education and experience Cardozo was admitted to be entirely capable of filling the office of Superintendent of Education; but he was not well known outside of his own county, Warren. In fact his nomination was largely a concession to that strong Republican county.
The three white men nominated,—besides the candidate for Governor,—were, W.H. Gibbs, for Auditor of Public Accounts; Geo. E. Harris, for Attorney-General, and Geo. H. Holland, for State Treasurer. Gibbs had been a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1868, and subsequently a member of the State Senate. Holland had served as a member of the Legislature from Oktibbeha County. Harris had been a member of Congress from the Second (Holly Springs) District, having been defeated for the nomination in 1872 by A.R. Howe, of Panola County. While the ticket, as a whole, was not a weak one, its principal strength was in its head,—the candidate for Governor.