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Chet Edwards For VP?—Texans Who Have Run For VP On Major & Minor Party Tickets

With Texas U.S Representative Chet Edwards of Waco being considered for a place on the Democratic ticket with Barack Obama, here are other Texans who have run for Vice President on major and minor party tickets.

First the major party candidates—

John Nance Garner

The first Texan on a major party ticket was John Nance Garner of Uvalde. Mr. Garner ran successfully with Democrat Franklin Roosevelt of New York in both 1932 and 1936. Immediately before becoming Vice President, Mr. Garner was Speaker of the U.S. House.   

Vice President Garner was never fully on-board with the New Deal. He offered support for F.D.R in his first term, but was a source of behind-the-scenes opposition in his second term.  

In 1940, Vice President Garner opposed President Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination. Mr. Roosevelt was easily nominated for a third term.

The link above to Mr. Garner, as well as the links to Lyndon Johnson ,George Bush, Martin Van Buren and Dan Quayle will take you to the excellent U.S. Senate page on Vice PresidentsThere are first-rate profiles to be found of all VP’s at the Senate site.)  

Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson ran with Democrat John Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1960. Immediately before becoming Vice President, Mr Johnson was Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.   

As Vice President, Mr. Johnson was placed in charge of America’s manned spaceflight program.

With the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, Mr. Johnson became the first Texan to serve as President of the United States.    

George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush  of Houston was the first Texas Republican to run for, and serve as, Vice President. He ran with Ronald Reagan of California in 1980 and 1984. Mr. Bush held a variety of political jobs before his selection as Mr. Reagan’s Vice President.

Despite suspicions that Mr. Bush had knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair, he went on the become the first sitting Vice President since Martin Van Buren to win election as President.

Lloyd Bentsen    

Lloyd Bentsen, of Hidalgo County and Houston, ran with Mike Dukakis of Massachusetts in 1988. Mr. Bentsen had been a U.S. Senator since 1971.

Governor Dukakis had been tricked by early polls suggesting he had a chance to carry Texas in the general election. He did not win Texas in the fall.   

The Dukakis/Bentsen ticket lost to George Bush and Dan Quayle of Indiana in 1988. This was the first time that two of the four candidates at the top of the ticket in a Presidential election were from Texas. Mr. Bensten had defeated future President Bush in the 1970 U.S. Senate race in Texas.

Mr. Bentsen later served as Treasury Secretary for Bill Clinton.  

There have also been Texans who have run for Vice President with minor party tickets. 

In 1880, Benjamin Chambers ran with future Populist Party founder James Weaver of Iowa on the Greenback Labor ticket. This slate won a decent 3.3%  of the national vote that year. Greenback Labor ran on an economic agenda to the left of the major parties. Greenbacks favored an income tax and the vote for women. I think I might have voted Greenback in 1880.

James Britton Cranfill  from Parker County was the Prohibition Party running mate in 1892.  George Carroll ran on the second spot of the Prohibition ticket of 1904. While Mr. Carroll never became Vice President, he did serve two terms as an alderman from Beaumont.

(The profiles of Mr. Cranfill and Mr. Carroll are from The Handbook of Texas Online and are very good. I cannot find any information on Mr. Chambers.) 

The 2004 Prohibition running mate, Howard Lydick of Richardson, is a Texan.

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Praise Of Gene Kelly & Outlaw Josey Wales

Two perennial candidates for office in Texas are Gene Kelly and Outlaw Josey Wales.

Mr. Kelly runs statewide and Mr. Wales runs for Mayor of Houston.

In the recently contested Texas primary, Mr. Kelly won 27% in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary against Rick Noriega. Mr. Noriega won the primary and avoided a runoff with 51% of the vote. 

Here is some information about Mr. Kelly from today’s Houston Chronicle.

Kelly is a reclusive retired military judge and lawyer from Universal City, a San Antonio suburb. He traditionally does little more than pay his filing fee, but apparently he wins votes because he has the same name as the late movie star and dancer.

Since 1990, Kelly has run for the Texas Supreme Court, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, attorney general and U.S. Senate.

In 2006, he forced Barbara Ann Radnofsky into a runoff in the Democratic U.S. Senate race. She overcame with “the dancer is dead” campaign, but the fact that she was in a runoff is believed to have cost her financial support from national Democratic donors.

Many candidates have an aspect of personal identity that wins them votes.

Did Mr. Noriega win votes because he is Hispanic? ( This no doubt cost him some votes as well.)

Some people voted for Barack Obama because he is black. Hillary Clinton gets some votes for being a woman and she has a famous last name. 

So what? That’s democracy for you. It’s a big spin of the wheel.  

It’s not Gene Kelly’s fault that by simply putting his name on the ballot he wins a quarter of the vote. I say more power to Mr. Kelly.  

If the party that likes to think of itself as the more “enlightened” party has to convince people that the actual “Singing in the Rain” Gene Kelly is not on the ballot–Well, then we have bigger problems than Mr. Kelly’s presence on the ballot. 

Here in Houston, I am a big fan of Outlaw Josey Wales.   

That’s his legal name.

Mr. Wales ran for Mayor of Houston last year. 

In 1999, I voted for Mr. Wales against incumbent Houston Mayor Lee Brown.

Mr. Brown was certain to win the election. I did not think so much of Mr. Brown. 

Once I convinced myself that Mr. Wales was not a right-wing kook, I figured what the hell? 

Two years later when Mr. Brown had a serious Republican challenger, I voted for Mr. Brown.

Here is what I said about Mr. Wales last October

As for Mr. Wales, self-creation and starting fresh are acts fully consistent with Houston and with politics.

He changed his name because he wanted to make some money. Good for him. I hope he made some money. If I thought I could make a lot of money by changing my name to Wyatt Earp, I would likely do so..   

Mr. Wales has had fewer names than former Texas Comptroller and candidate for Governor One Tough Grandma Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn…. 

Bloggers give themselves new names and made-up names all the time…

I don’t care what people choose to call themselves.    

Is Mr. Wales anymore or less stable than our civic Founding Father Sam Houston? Mr. Houston used to walk around Houston dressed as a cross between a frontiersman and an Indian. Sam Houston was, in his way, a serious and talented man.

Is Mr. Wales any more or less serious than the process of how we elect our city officials in Houston with silly six year term limits and terrible turnout? I think Mr. Wales might in fact be somewhat dignified for such a screwed-up process.  

Absurdity is a refuge from the day-to-day pain of life. As long as absurdity does not become detachment, what harm does it do?   

I look forward to seeing Mr. Kelly and Mr. Wales on the ballot many more times.    

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Politics, Texas, Texas Political History, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

As G.H.W. Bush Endorses McCain, Here Is Bush’s Poor Record As A Texas Candidate

 

Former President George H.W. Bush has endorsed John McCain for President.

( Story here.  Picture is of Mr. Bush with Dwight Eisenhower.)

Will this endorsement help Senator McCain as he campaigns for the March 4 Texas primary against Mike Huckabee

It can’t be taken as a given.

Polls show Mr. McCain and Mr. Huckabee running close in Texas.   

Let’s look at the electoral record for Mr. Bush in Texas going back to 1964.     

In the 1964 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate nomination to run against the great liberal Ralph Yarborough, George Bush needed a run off to win the nomination. He took 44% in the three candidate first round. 

In the 1964 General Election, Senator Yarborough beat Mr. Bush 56%-44%. This even though John Tower had already claimed the other Texas Senate seat for Republicans.

In 1970, Mr. Bush was again the Republican nominee for the Senate. He lost this race to Lloyd Bentsen 54%-46%.

Mr. Bush was next on the Texas ballot in the 1980 Republican primary. Ronald Reagan won 51%-47%.

At the top of the ticket, Mr. Bush did win Texas in 1988 and 1992. Though in 1992 he won his home state with only 40% of the vote against Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. This was the worst showing for a Republican presidential candidate in Texas since 1968. 

In 1992, President Bush finished third in his other home state of Maine. Maine is where the Bush family keeps a second home. Mr. Perot, as well as Mr. Clinton, beat Mr. Bush in Maine in 1992.

The last major party nominee to finish third or worse in a state had been Harry Truman in Alabama in 1948. Though this was because Mr. Truman was not even on the Alabama ballot that year as the forces of Dixiecrat Candidate Strom Trurmond had taken over the Alabama Democratic Party. 

Will Mr. Bush’s endorsement help Mr. McCain in Texas or with conservatives?  

Well, based on these facts and on his lousy 37% national showing as a reelection candidate in 1992, it does not seem that to know Mr. Bush as a public figure is to have have full regard for his views. 

Texas Liberal Is leading the way in political history blogging in 2008.

February 18, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Political History, Politics, Texas, Texas Primary '08 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment