commissioner. Bob Armstrong defeated him in 1970 in the aftermath of the famous “Austin strangler” incident. In 1969, the Texas Legislature was investigating a deal Sadler had set up to recover valuable artifacts from a sunken Spanish ship off the coast of Corpus Christi. State Reps. Sissy Farenthold, Jake Johnson, and others questioned the propriety of a contract Sadler signed to split the loot 50-50 between the State of Texas and the out-ofstate company doing the retrieving. There was also some question as to whether all the treasure was accounted for. One day Johnson and Farenthold and some reporters went to the land office to inspect the artifacts in question. Sadler was not pleased to see them. Witnesses said that Sadler grabbed Johnson by the adam’s apple and proceeded to throttle him; hence the nickname, “the Austin strangler.” Sadler said he just grabbed Johnson by the tie and shirt collar. Contrary to popular myth, Sadler did not say, “I hereby choke you in the name of the school children of Texas.” David Day of the Texas State Network recorded the incident for posterity: Sadler: I’m not going to let you in anywhere! Johnson: Why, Jerry? We’re herethe commission asked us to come over here and see these things. \(There was a pause on the tape, followed by the thuds and thunks of a disturbance, Sadler: Get outta here! Day: Mr. Sadler, were you going to choke the representative? Day: Are you gonna choke me now? Newton told the Observer that his aide Tom Hagen insisted Saturday morning, May 1, that Sadler would be in the runoff, but Newton was convinced he would be facing Denton or O’Rourke. “Both Lane and Terry did good jobs. Terry was articulating very complicated issues very clearly and Lane was good at organizing. Sometimes I even thought Dave Finney might be right in his theory that he would come through with the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex vote. Sadler caught me quite by surprise,” Newton said. In the runoff, Newton will try to emphasize his pro-consumer votes in the Texas House, his sponsorship of stripmining legislation, his votes for a refinery tax, and his investigation of Oscar Wyatt and the Lo-Vaca Gas mess. As for campaign strategy, Newton is in a double bind. He has been criticized by his opponents and the press for receiving approximately $71,000 in contributions from industrialists and oil men and for spending so much more money than his opponents. In his own defense, Newton pointed out that he raised more of his money from nonindustry sources than from industry sources. As the Sadler vote proved so eloquently, name identification is crucial in the more obscure state-wide races. If Newton spends -a lot of money in the runoff to get his name out, he may draw even more criticism. If he doesn’t spend a lot of money, there’s a possibility he could lose to Sadler. “I’m concerned about my image as a big spender,” he said. Newton added, “I don’t think Sadler has much of an image, one way or the other. I think voters just saw a name that they recognized.” He said he will run a “positive” campaign stressing his own strengths rather than a campaign reminding the electorate of Sadler’s weakness. If he can raise the money, he’ll invest heavily in media advertising. Sadler has gone so far as to get an Austin telephone and a p.r. man for the runoff. He went before labor’s COPE group and made a strong, funny pitch for an endorsement. COPE decided to stay out of the contest, but some people present at the meeting Some Parr folks won in Duval County and some Parr folks lost. Duval County Atty. Ricardo Garcia, a Parr man, beat Dist. Atty. Arnulfo Guerra, who used to have some Carrillo connections, in the competition for O.P. Carrillo’s old state court bench. Carrillo was impeached. Archer Parr’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, was defeated for Duval Democratic chairman. And Nago Alaniz, an old, old crony of George Pan’s, lost the d.a. job to Pancho Cerda of Hebbronville. Hardin heavies It was a Mexican stand-off over in Hardin County. Emmett Lack’s ally George Kirkpatrick beat incumbent D.A. Stanley Coe out of the Democratic nomination for district attorney \(see Obs., Public opinion turned against Coe after he taped some feelthy picturesallegedly of Lackto the Hardin County courthouse wall. But, wait. There’s more. The grand jury then indicted Judge Lack and his campaign adviser, Houston Thompson, on three counts each of official misconduct. And the grand jury, working with the state attorney general’s office, is looking further into the doings in Judge Lack’s court. Coe, by the way, accused Beaumont Enterprise reporters Don Jacobs and Dan Green of plotting to “trap” him into revealing the photos. Jacobs and Green did meet were tempted to take Sadler at face value as an East Texas populist. Newton hastened to remind them of Sadler’s past record. Among the people who supported Denton and O’Rourke, the most progressive of the RRC candidates, there seem to be three for Republican Walter Wendlandt in the would be too horrible to contemplate, and would emphasize what a joke the Railroad Commission is. One upbeat notenow that the field has been narrowed to Newton and Sadler, lots more people at the Legislature are seriously talking about the need to shift regulation of gas utilities from the Railroad Commission to the new Public Utilities Commission K.N. ” \\ \\ 4111*kr ?::: 1 IV 41 4eatf44441 with Lack and Thompson at the office of The Kountze News to discuss whether Lack should have a press conference. The reporters advised the judge to tell all. Lack eventually held a press conference, but he never made it clear whether the subject in the photos was actually he. With so many right-wingers voting in the GOP primary, Dallas Democrats managed to elect a moderate party chairman. Ron Kessler, a 33-year-old attorney, who did time in the Peace Corps and with Dallas Legal Services, is the first nonconservative Demo leader anyone can remember in Dallas. He overcame the incumbent, Manuel DeBusk, with 63 percent of the vote. Under DeBusk and other conservative party chairs before him, liberals complained that the Dallas party went all out to keep the Democratic primaries in conservative hands and then virtually shut down operations during the fall general elections. Kessler said he would work hard to elect Democrats in the fall and that Jimmy Carter would be a strong leader for the Demo ticket in Texas. DeBusk will be mourned as one of the last Texas Neanderthals in urban politics. As one Dallas reporter said, “I’m gonna miss DeBusk. He could always be counted on to come out with the most outrageous, fascist statements anyone could imagine.” May 21, 1976 Political Intelligence 11111111.0″-Allik ‘ ‘
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.