Political Intelligence Sen. Ralph Yarborough has urged sev eral liberal state senators, by telephone, to go along with the appointment of Dorsey Hardeman, the arch-conservative former state senator, to the State Insurance Commission. Gov . Preston Smith’s appointment of Hardeman is in trouble, as at least 11 senators, the minimum number needed to block Senate confirmation, have signed an agreement among themselves to stop Hardeman. Yarborough has in the past received at least token support from Hardeman during election campaigns. This probably is one reason for the senator’s efforts in Hardeman’s behalf. A second reason might well be Yarborough’s and Smith’s efforts to establish a working relationship. The governor invited Yarborough to the .gubernatorial inauguration earlier this year, and the senator accepted. It was the first time Yarborough had participated as a senator in the inauguration of a Texas governor, he having been on the outs with former Governors Daniel and Connally. Earlier this year Smith, in Washington, told newsmen that he and Yarborough would seek to establish some rapport. “Ralph is, of course, more liberal than I am, but we will get along,” Smith said. The Yarborough telephone conversations with several state senators must be interpreted, partly, as a significant action in the efforts of the governor and the senator to accommodate themselves to each other. The Yarborough efforts in Hardeman’s behalf also must be considered in light of the senator’s 1970 reelection hopes. If Smith or Hardeman are able to throw some of their political weight behind the senator, his chances of reelection, already deemed quite good, would be further enhanced. A number of gubernatorial appointments have been placed before the Senate, and confirmed, since Smith’s appointment of Hardeman to the Insurance Board. Smith has not submitted Hardeman’s name to the Senate in this time, however, realizing the appointment is in trouble. Some liberal senators have expressed resentment at Yarborough’s involving himself in a matter the state senators regard as something for them alone to decide. The question of whether Yarborough is to be opposed by a leading Democratic vote getter in next spring’s party primary still is in doubt. There is some talk of Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes taking on the senator but this appears very doubtful at this point. Barnes, lately turned 31, has plenty of time to serve in the U.S. Senate. More to the point, however, he is still building his statewide political base, a base that he consciously works to include a wide segment of the Texas left. A race against Yarborough would lose Barnes his increasing support among liberals support which he is adding greatly to this legislative session, as he has pleased the liberal senators and done what he could to get long-ignored liberal reforms enacted, and enacted in a form to give them some impact on Texas society, in most cases. The best guess for a Yarborough primary opponent at this point would be Dolph Briscoe, the Uvalde rancher, who ran well in the gubernatorial primary last year. National Democratic Party figures say privately they believe Sen. Ralph Yarborough will have little serious opposition in the party primary next year, as things now stand. “Yarborough’s stronger than he has ever been,” one of them said recently. The senator’s all-out performance for the national ticket last year, coupled with his new powers as chairman of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee, put him in a solid position nationally. Yarborough is expected to have far greater financial resources at his command, as a result, than in past years should he encounter an opponent. Bush and Grover Houston Republican Cong. George Bush still scratches his head about, whether to run. Evidently, early reports reaching Bush about the prospects of such a race were not gratifying. It is believed Bush found, during a recent survey, that he is well-known in Houston and Dallas but little elsewhere in the state. Another study is under way. Bush is under pressure from oil industry people not to make the race because of his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, a position that enables him to guard the industry’s precious oil depletion allowance. If Bush does not make the, race, Houston Republican State Sen. Hank Grover is quick to say he, will. *If Bush does challenge Yarborough, State Rep. Bill Archer, another Houston Republican, will try for Bush’s seat in Congress. Former Gov. John Connally spoke in behalf of the political future of his protege, Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, at a private meeting of 25 or 30 Dallas business and political leaders a couple of weeks back, the Dallas Times Herald reported. The meeting was arranged by Robert Strauss, Dallas attorney and Connally associate who serves as the state Democratic national committeeman. Reportedly, the meeting was called to solicit future financial support for Barnes, who, Strauss said, potentially has 40 years of public service ahead of him. Strauss said those who attended the meeting represented an ideological cross-section, from conservative to liberal. Barnes was not discussed as a potential opponent for anyone, Strauss told the Times-Herald; rather, he said, the discussion was Barnes’ potential role as a politician of national stature and as one who might help restore Texas’ influence in national affairs. Speaker’s Race Apparently the race to succeed Rep. Gus Mutscher as speaker has narrowed to two men now. Pledges are being collected by Rep. Joe Ratcliff of Dallas and Rep. Randy Pendleton of Andrews. Ratcliff is believed to have some 30 or 40 written pledges of support once Mutscher steps aside. Pendleton, a lieutenant of Ben Barnes when Barnes was speaker, is gathering oral pledges, it is said, though no number is known. Ratcliff evidently is the front-runner now. The race probably will not intensify for a time, as Mutscher probably will want to serve a second term as speaker in the 1971 session, and it is very difficult to displace an incumbent speaker. Rep. John Traeger of Seguin, who had been thought interested in the job, evidently has given up gathering pledges at this time. The House passed unanimously a bill establishing a statewide system for re porting physical abuses of children. Sponsor Jim Clark of Dallas said Dallas Parkland Hospital and the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas treat about one child abuse case a day, but that presently there is no law dealing with the problem of reporting parents who beat or mistreat their children. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration. Four House liberals, Mrs. Frances Far enthold, Curtis Graves, Raul Muniz, and Arthur Vance, voted against a resolution inviting Cong. Henry B. Gonzalez to address a joint session of the House and Senate. The resolution by Rep. Hilary Doran of Del Rio said that legislators “have not had an opportunity to hear the full texts of the several talks and press releases that Congressman Gonzalez made on the problems of the Mexican-American community in Texas.” The San Antonio congressman has been highly critical of MAYO’s activities in the Valley \(Obs., Senate hearings on Sen. Charles Wilson’s utility regulation bill have dragged on longer than hearings on any other bill in the Senate this session. Spokesmen for the May 9, 1969 13
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