The Texas Observer MAY 10, 1968 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c Yarborough and Smith Austin The lead that Don Yarborough will carry into the June 1 Democratic runoff election is the first that liberals have mustered since the days of Gov. Jimmy Allred in the mid-1930’s. Liberal hopes of at last capturing the governorship are based on the recollection that in both 1956 and 1962, the last times the establishment sought to pass the mantle, liberal candidates in runoffs closed the margins by which they had trailed in the first primaries. If this phenomenon continues Yarborough will beat Lt. Gov. Preston Smith, the independent conservative, by more than the 35,879 votes by which the Houston attorney led Smith and the rest of a ten-man field in last week’s primary. The Yarborough campaign has been beset by severe financial limitations. TV specials were few in number, broadcast radio and TV spots were almost nonexistent, no billboards were erected, and newspaper advertising was scant. Ten days before the voting candidates were required to file a report of contributions received and money spent. These reports, given the ambiguous nature of the statute requiring them, are almost invariably unreliable as to the exact financial status of a campaign; but considering that all candidates labor under the same set of principles in reporting campaign funds some idea of relative campaign wealth can be deduced. Yarborough stood eighth among the ten candidates, reporting $71,000 in spending, compared to Connallycrat Eugene Locke’s $571,000, Briscoe’s $526,000, Smith’s $225, 000, and Ed Whittenburg’s $240,670. Whether Yarborough’s first-round lead will encourage contributors to loosen up is a question now much in the minds of the candidate and his campaign staff. The failure of the Locke campaign to generate sufficient interest is probably the most intriguing result of Saturday’s voting. Locke is reliably reported to have had a $2.8 million campaign budget drawn up for the first primary \(and not includlems of some extent during the race to the wire in April and had to cancel at least some airtime commitments earlier made; the full extent of his money difficulties is not known but even so he doubtless led the field in spending during a race that surely set a record for money spent, several million dollars having been shelled out. Characteristically runoffs draw fewer voters , than do first primaries; about 1.8 million persons voted Saturday, a record but.. stillnot the turnout some officials had anticipated; considering that 4,072,397 Texans are eligible to vote this year \(compared to the previous record of heard that from 2 to 2.8 million voters would show up at the polls. About two million did show up, including about 100,000 Republicans and about that many more who aligned themselves with George Wallace’s American party \(see that liberals had counted on to redraw the state’s political picture failed, largely, to show up at the polls. About 750,000 persons who have not partiCipated in state elections are believed registered this year, the first big election year in which there is no poll tax. Probably more of the new voters will go to the polls this fall, lured by the presidential race, but they were not noticeable in preliminary examinations of Saturday’s returns. SMITH’S STRENGTH lay in the numerous relatively low population West Texas counties around his hometown of Lubbock \(he carried that city by a 2-1 margin over Waggoner Carr, also of the sort that probably is dying out in modern-day Texas, a personal, handshaking, service club luncheon type of drive. He stayed off of TV, figuring probably that he does not come off well on that medium. How much TV speaking will be conducted during May before the runoff depends on whether Smith decides to change his earlier tactics and on whether Yarborough can raise enough money to get on the air much. Smith indicates he’ll stick by his personalized campaign tactics. “We’ll campaign in the runoff just as vigorously as we ever did,” he says. “The technique of person-to-person campaigning is still the most effective way and we will continue it.” Yarborough has broadened his appeal ideologically this year, hewing a bit less strictly to the liberal line and benefitting from growing acceptance of liberal political philosophy in Texas as legitimate and not heretical. Liberal Rep. Rex Braun, Houston, a Yarborough campaign leader, expects Yarborough to pick up conservative votes in the runoff. “We’ve already heard from some conservatives who can’t go for Smith,” Braun says, adding that some conservatives voted for Yarborough in the first primary. “His whole platform would be acceptable to conservatives,” Braun said. “These liberal and conservative labels have been overused, and people are waking up to that fact.” Yarborough carried most of the big cities Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth \(12 of the 20 biggest councaried the remaining two, including Dallas. Yarborough ran a close third in conservative Dallas. There is hope at Yarborough headquarters here that the Hill and Briscoe votes can be mined for DY support. Also the Carr vote should, perhaps surprisingly, yield some Yarborough backing, on the theory that Carr and Smith do not get along. Too, a number of Carr’s campaign leaders in the small counties are said to be loyal Democrats who were drawn to Carr only because in 1966 he was opposing Republican Sen. John Tower. Yarborough people report that they are happy about the pledges of support they are receiving from workers for Saturday’s losers; in Brazos county \(Bryan-College support of the other top five campaign leaders. The 45,975 votes that Pat O’Daniel got are regarded as all Yarborough votes. “Every one of those came out of our hide,” a Yarborough worker tells the Observer, recalling the 1956 gubernatorial race. That year O’D’aniel’s father, Pappy, carried 52 counties in the first primary but failed to make it into the runoff; Ralph Yarborough took 50 of O’Daniel’s 52 counties in the runoff against Price Daniel. It thus appears that Smith’s hold on the rural and smaller population Texas counties is to be matched against Yarborough’s strength in the major metropolitan areas. Yet this analysis is not accepted by at least one top Yarborough campaign leader who hopes that DY can just break even in the four largest cities to win; the thinking on this is that the margin for Smith in Dallas likely will offset DY advantages in Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. The traditional liberal-loyalist strength in East Texas is
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