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EYEBROW RAISER Harold Maples in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Facing the Challenge I/ It is far more likely, if Johnson stays in the race, that anti-LBJ forces will concentrate in Texas on embarrassing the president, so scant is the hope of winning delegates to Chicago. There would be some real political value in raising as much hell as possible in Texas, as that would have a disproportionately great impact in the rest of the nation. Fully aware of this, the state Democratic party leaders have begun to meet the challenge. Last month the 62-member executive committee that runs the party held an unannounced meeting in Dallas. Five days later a mimeographed press release advised that the group had voted its support of Johnson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey for reelection and urged that Gov. Connally lead the state delegation to the national convention. House Speaker Ben Barnes, now a candidate for lieutenant governor, and the establishment’s rising power in Texas, had done some tentative work :with a view to leading the delegation. Barnes has since said Connally should lead the Texas group. Some of the press grumbled in print about the private meeting. Party chairman Davis said he had not intended to cover things up; it had just occurred to him, he explained, that since so many of the executive committee were on hand for a speech by national party chairman John Bailey, that that would be a good time to meet. V The Johnson Humphrey resolution was sent by Davis to county chairmen with the suggestion that it be passed by the various county Democratic committees. More than 100 county organizations did so, representing, as Davis later announced, about two-thirds of the delegate strength at the state convention, illustrating, he said, that Texas Democrats are solidly behind Johnson. V The Houston Chronicle’s Washington bureau represents Johnson as being apprehensive about the effects on Texas Democratic unity of the predicted gubernatorial runoff between liberal Don Yarborough and the surviving conservative candidate. Hoping to hold the party in line, the Chronicle’s report continues, Johnson asked Connally to lead the Texas delegation to Chicago and to make LBJ’s nominating speech, which the governor agreed to do. Sen. Ralph Yarborough, even had he won the gubernatorial nomination, thus would have played a secondary role in the Chicago delegation. The Chronicle suggests that this was a consideration in the senator’s declining to make the race. V Some Texas editorial comment on the McCarthy and Kennedy challenges to Johnson might lead some readers to think that an attack had been mounted against the state itself. “Either Kennedy has chosen to ride the coattails of Eugene McCarthy, or the two peacenik Demo crats are trying to pull a fast one on the voters,” the Dallas News said. “An impon derable of the now-likely Bobby Kennedy candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination is how many of his former youthful supporters his duplicity has cost him,” the San Angelo Standard Times observed, referring to Kennedy’s having said not long ago that he would not run. A Dallas Times-Herald editorial titled “Kennedy Doesn’t Measure Up,” referred to Kennedy’s “hippie haircut meticulously arranged,” and characterized him as a “brash, arrogant opportunist.” V There is talk among some in the state’s anti-LBJ movement that Johnson may pull out of the race, even though a New York Times survey showed the president having more than enough delegate strength at present to win renomination. But, it is speculated, LBJ won’t run if he thinks the nomination not worth having; that is, if Republican victory appears very likely. Reagan’s Drive w r Richard Nixon is beginning to look unstoppable as he gains strength on his way to the national GOP convention. But in Texas, despite the efforts of state Republican chairman Peter O’Donnell, Nixon is facing a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan for Texas’ 56 votes at Miami this summer. O’Donnell has, pri vately, long favored Nixon and has worked to keep the Texas delegation com mitted to backing Sen. John Tower as a favorite son candidate on the first. ballot. This strategy is seen as a way of .avoiding a split party and, in view of Nixon’s gains, of assuring Nixon’s having no formidable challenger at the national convention. V A Texas headquarters has been estab lished to lead efforts to draft Reagan and to win delegates for the California oil and gas operator, is heading thei campaign. Butler says he does not want to trigger an intraparty fight in Texas but wants to work to encourage, the Texas delegation to go for Reagan on the second ballot at Miami. V Large, professionally produced news paper ads have been carried in 26 of the state’s larger dailies at a cost of $13,000 urging Reagan backers to participate in their precinct conventions.’ The strategy to be employed at those conventions by the state campaign leaders is not fully indicated; evidently resolutions are to be passed binding the Texas delegation to Reagan on the second ballot. Several sources in the Reagan organization told the Los Angeles Times that about 90% of the Harris county GOP precincts have been organized in support of this move. The Texas Reagan drive will also feature a series of TV programs comprised of excerpts from the candidate’s speeches. The Los Angeles paper reports that some of Texas’ top GOP leaders privately say that the state’s national convention delegation is presently split 50-50 between Nixon and Reagan. V Most Texas Republicans who have ex. pressed an opinion on Gov. Nelson March 29, 1968 3