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The art of the possible Austin Whoopee, campaign time again. And we were saved in the nick of time from a ho-hum year by Sissy Farenthold’s entry into the governor’s race. Farenthold lay low in Houston for two days after her announcement, then appeared in Austin on the 7th to announce her lawsuit against Briscoe. She then caught a plane back to Houston, taught her law school class at Texas Southern University and went from there to D.C., where she planned to resign as chairperson of the National Women’s Political Caucus. So much for good intentions the Caucus refused to accept the resignation. They offered to let her take a leave of absence or anything else she wanted, but they made it perfectly clear they wanted her to stay on. Farenthold then honored some previous commitments \(a speech at Johns Hopkins University and finally got back to Houston on the 13th. Ten days after her announcement, she had done precisely nothing about getting her campaign organized. But her campaign manager Creekmore Fath reports that the organization is appearing anyway, like mushrooms in May. Farenthold’s Austin office has received almost 600 phone calls from all over the state. Fath said, “They just call and say, ‘I want to volunteer. Here’s my name and phone number and as soon as you know who’s going to be in charge of her campaign around here, have the person get in touch with me.’ We’ve already got a bigger file of volunteers than we did two years ago. Our old supporters from all over are already getting together and setting up offices. We always did have a lot of local control in our campaign.” Fath points out that this race will be markedly different from Farenthold’s ’72 race. For one thing, the polls show that 85 percent of the people in Texas know who she is, which is about an 85 percent improvement over the situation when she started her last campaign. She got more publicity this year just by announcing her race than she did in the entire first two months of her last campaign, according to Fath. BUT SHE still has .a long road ahead. She has zero money commitments right now, none. “I couldn’t raise a cent until we knew what she was running for and she’d named me as her manager,” said Fath. “I couldn’t talk to anybody, I could not solicit a nickel, it would have been illegal. The first thing she has to do is sit down and make about 200 phone calls. Then I can follow up and we’ll see what we’ve got to work with.” Reaction to the lawsuit has been mostly cynical political analysts saw it as a campaign tactic, which it is. The question is whether or not it’s a good one. Ray Needham, the Houston attorney who is handling the suit, plans to concentrate on when Briscoe’s funds were raised and what they were raised fOr. He is less interested in what may be a more valuable political angle how the money was raised. Farenthold’s people are hoping that information about Briscoe’s Maurice Stans-style quota system will come out in the suit. Briscoe’s response to the suit was to label it “political mudslinging in the courts.” He added, “Ms. Farenthold has reached a new low in Texas politics.” Either that or Briscoe’s speechwriter achieved a new high in hyperbole. Of course, there is the chance that Briscoe does think the suit is a new low in Texas politics. Nobody ever claimed he was a mental giant. The suit is scheduled to go into court April 8. Labor is again a possible problem for Farenthold, though perhaps not as great as it was two years ago. Under the new rules, to be used for the first time this year, it will take a two-thirds vote at the COPE Convention for an endorsement. Farenthold’s troops are sure they can stop an endorsement of Briscoe. Briscoe has made some good labor appointments recently, most notably Joe Gunn of the Communications Workers to the Texas Employment Commission. Gunn was the head of the only CWA local in the state that endorsed Briscoe instead of Farenthold in ’72. Gerald Brown, executive secretary of the Building Trades, who was hot for Ben Barnes two years ago, has already got a resolution to ask COPE to endorse Briscoe. He brought it up at a legislative conference of the Building Trades on the 5th. The first show of hands seemed to break even, so a division of the house was called for and the resolution passed 35-29. Assuming that the Building Trades are the most pro-Briscoe of the unions, that’s good news for the Farenthold people. Right now, it looks like a standoff on the endorsement question. If there is no endorsement at the COPE convention neutrality is imposed on the locals under the new rules but is not imposed on the internationals. The role of the AFL-CIO staff is unclear. Two years ago, after the convention failed to endorse, Harry Hubbard went and worked for Sissy. Hubbard is apparently somewhat miffed that Farenthold failed to consult him before making her decision. Fath says she didn’t consult anyone. Sherman Fricks, AFL’s secretary-treasurer, actively lobbied to get Farenthold to run for the Railroad Commission. IN OTHER statewide races, Hobby is a cinch, Hill is a cinch, Armstrong and White are cinches. The Don Yarborough who is running against Jesse James for treasurer is NOT the Don Yarborough who used regularly to run for governor with our approbation. The only other statewide race that looks like it might be fun is for comptroller. Bob Bullock drew both primary and general election opposition. Hugh Edburg, who has been Robert Calvert’s secoild-in-command at the comptroller’s office, is running with the blessings of Calvert, that great statesman. Word is that Edburg is not sexy. But the Republican in the race is James Rowe, the only American prisoner of war in Vietnam who escaped. How does an ex-outlaw like Bullock run against a war hero? Bullock grumbles, “It’s nice to see a Republican who’s done something for his country instead of to it.” There are some interesting congressional races shaping up and two of them are in Dallas. The AFL-CIO is very interested in both former Sen. Mike McKool’s return bout with Republican Alan Steelman \(he has to beat ex-county chairman Earl Luna effort to unseat Dale Milford. Frost is a young lawyer who once clerked for Judge Sarah Hughes, and who has also worked as a television newsman \(for Dallas’ fine Meanwhile, back at the Legislature, in its current guise as a convention, the pack in the speaker’s race is rounding the first turn. Billy Clayton of Springlake, the lobby favorite, seems to be dropping back. He was hurt by the folks who decided not to come back next year about 12 or 13 of the 23 who are not coming back were Clayton’s kind of folks. Clayton looked like a lost cause anyway, partly because he’s a rural legislator and there’s a bunch of city legislators who hold that against him. Carl Parker of Port Arthur, another speaker hopeful, says the lobby doesn’t have clout anymore in speaker’s races, which may the silliest thing he ever said. He explains that the new reform law has the lobby reined in. “They can understand 40 to 50 votes,” Parker said, “but they can’t understand a new compromise candidate.” Parker plans to be the new March 1, 1974 3