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History Of Florida Nominating Primary

The Florida Presidential primary has a long history. 

In 2008, it is a big contest for Republicans with all the major candidates in the mix for the first time in the nominating season. For Democrats, a silly dispute over the timing of the vote means there will be no meaningful Democratic primary competition in the fourth-largest state.    

Here is the U.S Census Florida quick facts page.  Just over 18 million people live in Florida.

The first contested Florida primary took place way back in 1932. This before primaries had the decisive role they have today in selecting nominees. In 1932 Governor Franklin Roosevelt of New York won 88% of the vote against Governor William H. (Alfalfa Bill ) Murray of Oklahoma. (Photo Below)    

Governor Murray was just the piece of work he appears to be in the photo. 

The next contested Florida primary was in 1952. This was again on the Democratic side.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia won 55% of the vote against Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. Neither of these men would win the nomination. The honor of losing to General Eisenhower would go to Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois with Mr. Kefauver as his running mate.

Richard Russell (photo below) is seen by some as a “Giant of the Senate.” What he really was though was a segregationist who held up progress and freedom for millions of Americans.

In 1956, Mr. Stevenson contested Florida and beat Mr. Kefauver 52-48.

In 1960, “favorite son” candidate Senator George Smathers was the only name on the Democratic Florida ballot. A “favorite son” candidate is one favored almost exclusively in his or her own state. That candidate will then often have a great say in how that state’s delegates will vote at the convention. In 1960, Florida’s first-ballot delegates went to Smathers’ fellow Southerner Lyndon Johnson of Texas.

The Florida Republican primary was the one of greater interest in 1964. Here a slate of uncommitted delegates won 58% of the vote against Barry Goldwater. That suggests that even as late as May 26, when the primary was held, Florida Republicans were not yet sold on Mr. Goldwater. No doubt many Florida Republicans were ex-New Yorkers who did not flock to Mr. Goldwater. ( Ex-New Yorkers are part of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 strategy in Florida.) 

Also interesting in 1964 was the respective vote totals in the two party primaries.  An unchallenged Lyndon Johnson won 393,339 votes.The Republican primary drew 100,704 votes. This long-standing Democratic partisan advantage would not last.     

Another thing that would change was the date of the primary. The Florida primary had always been held late in the process and did not much effect the outcome. For 1972,  just at the time when primaries began to take a larger role in the nominating process, Florida moved the primary up to March 14. This made it the second primary—One week after New Hampshire.

The primary has kept an early date ever since.  

This change did not change the party. The segregationist wing of the Democratic party took the day as George Wallace  of Alabama won the ’72 primary with 42%. (Wallace is shown here with James Webb of NASA –center–and Wernher Von Braun hugging the rocket. No matter how much Southerners say they hate the federal government, they are always willing to take the federal money) 

However, by 1976 things had changed for the better. (Putting aside the national regression of Reagan 80’s and beyond.) Jimmy Carter beat Governor Wallace 35% 31% in Florida. This marked a New South and a switch in control of the Democratic Party.

In the legendary Ronald ReaganGerald Ford (photo of Ford below) race of 1976, President Ford won Florida 53-47%.  The “Reagan South” would arrive a few years later.  Governor Reagan beat the first George Bush 56-30 in the 1980 primary.

After 1980, the Florida primary became part of the Super Tuesday and large Southern regional primaries and did little to alter the outcome of the nominating races.

Gary Hart beat Walter Mondale in 1984–Though that did Mr. Hart little good.  

2000 was the first time there were more Republican voters in a Florida Presidential primary than Democratic voters. Though Republicans had been doing quite well in Florida long before this point. 

John Kerry was the easy 2004 Florida Democratic winner. The Republicans did not bother with a primary in an uncontested race.

Below is a Florida Scrub Jay. This bird is found only in Florida.

Texas Liberal is going to be your leading source for political history blogging in 2008.  Please click here for a history of the South Carolina primary.  Please click here for a variety of political history posts on this blog.  

January 22, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mitt Romney Not First Mormon Running For President To Rack Up Second Place Finishes

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney finished second in the Republican New Hampshire primary yesterday. This comes after his second place finish in the Iowa caucus last week.

Governor Romney had invested a great deal of money in both states, but was unable to win. The people did not want him.

Governor Romney is not the first Mormon candidate for President to run up a string of second place finishes in the Presidential nominating process.

In 1976, Democratic Representative Morris K. Udall (photo above) of Arizona finished second in six primaries without winning a single one. He finished third in seven primaries.

Rep. Udall was a Mormon.   

In New Hampshire, Rep. Udall lost to Jimmy Carter 28% to 23%. Birch Bayh of Indiana ran third with 15%.

Morris K. Udall was a great liberal.  

However, running second does not get the job done—As Governor Romney is finding out.

As far as I can recall or read, Udall’s Mormonism was not an issue in 1976.

This may have been because religion was not the same kind of issue it is today, and because the Democratic primary electorate in 1976 did not have a religious litmus test for candidates the way the Republican electorate does in 2008.

Udall’s brother Stewart was Secretary of the Interior for President Kennedy.

Two Udalls serve in the House of Representatives today.

Democrat Mark Udall, son of Mo, represents the second district of Colorado. This district is focused on western suburbs of Denver and on Boulder.

Mark Udall is running for Senate to win the seat of retiring Republican Senator Wayne Allard.   

Stewart’s son, Democrat Tom Udall, represents New Mexico’s third district in the U.S. House. This district includes Santa Fe, Clovis and much of the top one-third of New Mexico.  

This Udall is also running for the U.S. Senate. He is running for the seat being vacated by Republican Pete Domenici.

A Udall cousin is Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. Senator Smith will hopefully be defeated for reelection in 2008.

1/16/08—Update—Romney has broken the Udall/Mormon curse and won the Michgan primary.

January 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Las Vegas Democratic Debate With Bonus Information On 1976 Ford/Carter Debate

I watched the Las Vegas Democratic Presidential debate. (Except for when I went out to get a lottery ticket.)

I generally don’t watch these things because this has gone on for so long and I get tired of it all. But with baseball season over I figured what the hell.

From a conventional standpoint for a liberal, you can say this is a good group of candidates. Or at least they are good at saying what the feel primary and caucus voters want to hear.  Or, maybe, what they are saying reflects a slight shift to the left in the country that has been discussed of late.

Still, I persist in the belief that none of the Democratic candidates have substantive answers to the issues of climate change and globalization as it effects American workers. I feel these are the most important issues by far. Either they don’t know what to say or the solutions are so off-the-table at the moment that they can’t be politically discussed.

I’ve been a supporter of former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina to this point because of his focus on economic issues as they impact the poor and middle classes. I have to admit that in my heart I want to move to Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

But I’m not there yet.

Here is good column by Roger Cohen of The New York Times discussing the positive impact Senator Obama might make in other parts of the world as President of the United States. I know I very much agree with Mr. Obama’s assertion that we should talk with all nations. What does it hurt to talk?  

Since all things are connected, Here is some information about the 1976 Presidential debates and the election contest between President Gerald Ford of Michigan and former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia.

This cycle of three debates is most known for a 27 minute audio failure where the candidates stood pretty much motionless for the whole time, and for President Ford seemingly saying that Poland was not under the control of the Soviet Block. (Which always struck me as a dumb issue because whatever you thought about President Ford, he clearly knew the political reality of Poland at that time)

Here is a transcript of one of the Ford/Cater debates.

Here is an interview with President Ford and President Carter in which each looks back at the 1976 debates. 

Here is the C-SPAN overview of the 1976 election.

Here is a link to Marathon by Jules Whitcover. It is the best book I’m aware of on the 1976 campaign.

Here is an analysis of the 1976 Election from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

You can consult David Leip’s excellent Atlas of Presidential Elections for 1976 results. 

Here is the Jimmy Carter Library in Atlanta. 

Here is the Gerald Ford Library in Grand Rapids. 

November 16, 2007 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Political History | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

American Politicians Who Have Won The Nobel Peace Prize

  

( Update–10/09/09—This post has been updated for Mr. Obama’s award of the Peace Prize.)

Al Gore and Jimmy Carter are not the only two American politicians to have won the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt won the Nobel for his role in ending the war between Japan and Russia.

One-term New York Senator Elihu Root won the prize in 1912. As Secretary of State under Teddy Roosevelt, and as Senator, Root help negotiate and arbitrate a number of international disputes.  

This does not seem like something the current administration would support. They have a different approach to resolving disputes. 

President Woodrow Wilson won the Peace prize in 1919 for his part in creating the League of Nations.   

It was bit more rocky, though with some successes, for the League after the Nobel.   

Another one-term Senator, Frank Kellogg of Minnesota, was the 1929 winner. (The photo above is of Mr. Kellogg.)

As Secretary of State under Calvin Coolidge, Kellogg was a force behind the Kellogg-Briand pact. Kellogg-Briand was signed by 64 countries and was about the renunciation of war as an instrument of policy by these nations. It did not have much effect at the time, but why not try?  

1931 co-winner Nicholas Butler, was Teddy Roosevelt’s running mate on the 1912 Bull Moose ticket. Butler won the prize for his international work on behalf of Kellogg-Briand.

Former Tennessee Senator Cordell Hull was the 1945 winner.  Secretary of State under F.D.R, Hull had a part in creating the United Nations.

And finally, much more recently, Jimmy Carter in 2002 and Al Gore for the current year.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments