HOUSTON PROTEST BEXAR LIBERALS WIN Democrate Vie for El Paso SALES TAX ANALYSIS Campaign Notes AROUND TEXAS Conservatives apparently will control the Democratic state convention this September on the basis of their victories in county conventions Saturday. The prevailing theme was harmony, with most county parties endorsing nominees and whatever platform state party leaders come up with. Many of the conventions split along conservative-liberal lines, however, and delegations to the El Paso conclave are loaded with backers of both gubernatorial run-off candidates. Connally supporters seem in the majority. Liberal delegations from councan be expected to make vigorous state convention challenges. Conservatives stymied liberal Dallas, the state’s two most populous counties, and dominated an convention. In San Antonio, with Texas’ fourth largest delegation, liberals gained complete control, endorsed Don Yarborough for governor, and passed one of the most freewheeling sets of liberal resolutions ever to emerge from a Texas convention. Houston liberals, as a result of the day’s most flamboyant session, are filing a protest against the state convention’s seating the firmly conservative county delegation. The protest, which goes to the state Democratic executive committee, will contend that the county convention failed to take a pledge to support Democratic nominees in the general election. The liberals, seeking to introduce the resolution, were unable to get any issues to the floor. The Houston dissenters are not trying to acquire seats for themselves in El Paso. A favorable decision for them by. the SDEC would strip Harris County of its state delegation. Boos, jeers, and a fist fight enlivened the Houston convention, which the conservatives dominated from first to last. Liberal Bill Kilgarlin, newly elected county Democratic chairman, lost to conservative Joel Coolidge, the incumbent whom Kilgarlin defeated May 5, for the temporary chairmanship. That key’ vote was 3,958 to 3,621 for Coolidge. Kilgarlin and the liberals had not been able to get minority representation on the committees and went unrecognized on resolutions from the floor. ‘Extremists’ Charged The conservatives voted for two new members of the state executive committee to replace Walter Sterling and Mrs. Helen Alexander, generally considered “moderate” conservatives. This provoked the accusation from liberal floorleader John Crosland that “they gave Sterling and Mrs. Alexander a pat on the back as they dumped them” and that “extremists” gained party control. A liberal resolution inviting President Kennedy to Houston was ignored in favor of a more tepid one which declared, “The President is always welcome in Harris County regardless of his political or party affiliation.” Liberal Chris Dixie’s resolution binding state convention delegates to a loyalty oath and another to abolish the poll tax were also not accepted. A fist fight broke out between a tall liberal and a stocky conservative when Coolidge refused to recognize Kilgarlin from the floor THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 8 May 19, 1962 later in the convention and called for adjournment. Fisticuffs almost erupted during a poll of delegations earlier. Several liberals protested the presence of two sheriff’s officers who wore guns. Dallas Attack In Dallas, for the first time in two decades there was no walkout, but afterwards the liberals accused the conservatives of having broken pledges. Baxton Bryant, liberal leader and unsuccessful congressional candidate May 5, argued that conservatives reneged on a previous agreement that no frontal attacks would be permitted on the national party or the Kennedy administration. The Dallas convention, whatever the agreement, resolved against a growing federal government invading the American way of life, and heard a keynote speaker assail union leaders,. medicare, and federal aid to education. A number of liberals were named to the state delegation, but the unit rule was applied. In Fort Worth, a floor battle over a resolution endorsing the Kennedy administration didn’t materialize. Liberal-loyalists employed the strategy of nominating a conservative leader as temporary chairman, a move apparently aimed at placing the burden of the resolution’s failure to reach a floor vote on him. The conservative nominee declined, however, and Democratic county chairman Scott Sayers was judged temporary chairman by acclamation. Liberals demanded a roll-call vote, but were ruled out of order. A mild resolution calling for party unity, naming no names, was adopted, and a state delegation described by the Star-Telegram as “catch-all and from all factions” was approved. Bexar Liberals Liberals were overwhelmingly successful in San Antonio, however. A pro-Kennedy coalition endorsed Don Yarborough for his “consistent support of the program of the New Frontier” and took a dig at Connally with a resolution urging both run-off ea ndidates to state “publicly and clearly their stand on President Kennedy’s New Frontier.” The liberals had trounced the conservatives, 2,327 to 623, for the chairmanship. Cmsr. Albert Pena, one of the keynote speakers, declared: “I don’t care what kind of a Democrat you call yourself as long as you are a John Fitzgerald Kennedy Democrat. If you believe in Kennedy’s program you “are a Democrat. If you repudiate the New Frontier, you don’t deserve to call yourself a Democrat.” Politicians seeking office as Democryt1 who do not support the New Frontier, he said, are “the worst charlatans” of all. Resolutions were passed abolishing the poll tax, condemning the John Birch Society, condemning as “immoral and dishonest” persons participating in the Democratic primary but voting GOP in November, endorsing Kennedy’s medicare bill, condemning without qualification racial discrimination, commending Ralph Yarborough for his efforts on Padre Island, dissolving the House textbook committee, repealing the right-to-work laws, and binding the state delegation to the unit rule. Harmony stalked the El Paso County convention, and an expected scrap between the conservative element and the liberal-modcrate was no scrap at all. Richard White, the liberal-moderate candidate for chairman, defeated his conservative foe 340-275, and immediately called for harmony. He refused to accept any label but “Democrat,” suggested that differences in opinion were extremes, and called for the party to represent all the people. The only sour note was a heckler’s cry: “Have you paid your income tax?” Delegates to the state convention were sent uninstructed and without a unit rule. They range in outlook from Thornton Hardie to Pablo Ayub, a local PASO man. Challenged by the county Republicans beforehand to “repudiate or endorse” El Paso County Judge Woodrow Bean, who has had tax troubles, the resolutions committee engineered a sidestep and declared its “allegiance to the moral and ethical bases in which the laws of the United States and of the state of Texas are founded.” Further resolutions cheered party loyalty, women’s rights, and ‘various local celebrities. There was a tight battle for control in Travis County, where a handful of delegations from East Austin precincts whose conventions had committed themselves to the election of liberal Mike Levi as chairman switched to conservative Frank Erwin. Erwin won by 20 votes, 726-706, and interpreted his victory as a win for the conservative-moderate-liberal coalition which is supporting John Connally. Abilene Tables After the roll call vote had determined Erwin as chairman, Levi recognize us for a motion to endorse the Kennedy-Johnson administration.” In view of that, Levi said he would move to make Erwin’s election unanimous. Erwin rebutted that he had actually said he would recognize Levi or anyone else to offer an amendment to any resolution before the convention. However, there were no resolutions. The state delegation was diverse enough to include Allan Shivers, Ralph Yarborough, Homer Thornberry, and Charles Herring. convention was well-organized and unruffled. A resolution declaring “full support” of the New Frontier made it to the floor and was defended by veteran Democrat Joe Etheridge, who said he understood Republicans were going to go on the record approving Sen. Tower and disapproving the administration. If Republicans could take stands on national issues and leaders, he said, so could Democrats. The resolution was tabled, however, by voice vote. crats resolved against deficit spending and federal government ownership and urged an investigation of the Department of Agriculture. Democratic conventions in Wichita, Grayson, Orange, Tom Green, Brazos, Reeves, Clay, Limestone, and Navarro counties voted to support the party’s nominees. Brazos County went on record praising the Kennedy-Johnson leadership. GOP Walkout GOP county conventions were harmonious in their indictment of federal government in general and the Kennedy administration in particular. Bexar County Republicans came up with a somewhat ambitious resolution urging Gov. Daniel to declare May 27 “Republican Day” in Texas. And in Brazos County, in what must have been one of the few convention walkouts in Texas GOP history, two members took a walk when a resolution was adopted demanding US withdrawal from the UN. “This is too conservative for us,” they said. The vote was 14-2. goof Ernest Bailey, political an alyst for the Houston Press, says Don Yarborough needs to consolidate his strength in Harris County, the upper Gulf Coast area, and East Texas and expand his strength to population centers like Bexar, Dallas, and Tarrant to beat John Connally. On the other hand, both Connally and Yarborough “are able political tacticians and well aware that the frontrunner in a statewide pri mary race isn’t always assured of Political Intelligence winning the nomination in the run-off.” Occasionally it is difficult for a primary frontrunner to retain his momentum in a run-off, “and many Texans like to support the underdog candidate.” Bailey cited Price Daniel’s 165,498-vote margin over Ralph Yarborough in the 1956 first primary, a lead which dwindled to 3,171 in the run-off. With 15 percent of the state’s registered voters in Harris County, Connally also realizes he must run well there in the run-off to win. “He recalls,” Bailey writes, “the downfall of a fellow Fort Worth resident, C o n g. Jim Wright,” in last year’s Senate race. Wright ran well in the rest of the state, but got squeezed dry in Houston. tof The Dallas News, in a lead editorial, reiterated its support of Connally, noting that he is being attacked by “the liberallabor-radical wing of the Democratic Party,” and that “the liberal Texas Observer, expressing the sentiments of the Ralph Yarborough-AFL-CIO crowd, is attacking Connally with every issue, just as it mounted offensives against Allan Shivers and Bill Blakley.” Addressing itself to “skeptical conservatives” who wondered about the News’ endorsement, the paper said: “The News can afford an answer: John Connally is no wildeyed liberal.” The editorial ended on a suggestive note: “To those people who have asked why we endorsed him over Jack Cox we would remind that the News’ selection was for the Democratic nomination only. Mr. Cox ran as a candidate for the Republican nomination. Should the two meet in November, the News will take a new look.” frof Other conservative dailies warned Texas conservatives not to play with fire by voting for Yarborough simply to get him into the general election against Cox. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, a far-right West Texas daily, said Texas Democrats, “to put it bluntly, cannot afford to ‘fool around’ with the Cox candidacy.” The paper attacked Yarborough for his “extreme liberal leanings,” and said he is being supported by “the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party in Texas through its subsidized mouthpiece, the weekly Texas Observer, and by the remnants of the old Frankie Randolph machine.” frof The Fort Worth Star-Tele gram re-endorsed Connally for offering “fresh, forceful, and effective leadership,” attacked Yarborough for being supported by liberals and labor, and said Yarborough “has a forensic skill and an unimpeded flow of langu age that makes him almost a rival to that glib national spokesman for the liberals, Sen. Hubert Hum phrey.” In another lead editorial later in the week, the Star-Tele gram warned that the run-offs for statewide offices are taking on “the aspects of an outright liberal-conservative fight,” and said that conservatives who plan to vote for Yarborough in the belief Cox could beat him in No vember are taking “a great risk.” loodir PASO’s executive committee decided not to endorse anyone for governor and lieutenant governor, repeated its endorsement of Tom Reavley for attorney general, and continued to back Woodrow Bean for congressmanat-large. por Connally got the endorse ment of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers on the grounds he “will use his influence to help bring about a better transportation system in this state and the nation.” vf Sen. John Tower held a Washington press conference, pi .edicted the Connally-Yar
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