The associations of many electrocardiographic (ECG) abnormalities at rest with incident coronary heart disease (CHD) are not completely established, and whether individual ECG abnormalities convey similar risk across gender and race is uncertain. We studied the independent association of several ECG findings with incident CHD, testing for effect modification by gender and race, in a large, population-based, prospective cohort study. Findings from the baseline 12-lead electrocardiograms in 1987 to 1989 were classified according to the Minnesota Code in 12,987 black and white men and women, aged 45 to 64 years, who were initially free of CHD and the use of specific cardiac medications. The incidence of CHD was ascertained through 2000. After adjustment for multiple cardiovascular risk factors, the ECG findings that had the highest hazard rate ratios (HRRs) for incident CHD, when considered singly, were left ventricular hypertrophy with ST-T strain pattern in white men (HRR 6.50) and in black women (HRR 2.31) and, in the whole cohort, major (HRR 2.27) and minor (HRR 2.47) ST depression and major T-wave abnormalities (HRR 2.12). Statistically significant associations were also found in the whole cohort for minor Q waves and left ventricular hypertrophy by the Cornell definition, but not for a prolonged QTc interval, major ventricular conduction defects, or ST elevation. In conclusion, several 12-lead ECG findings were independently associated with incident CHD in middle-aged adults. With only a few exceptions, the associations were similar for blacks and whites.