4.:.,`,`, , 4 , , \\A` \\x, s OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South July 2, 1976 501e The convention tilted left Houston For a time it looked as if the Texas Democrats had lost all sense of tradition and would make it through a state convention without strife and discord. The two-day event got off to a slow start, but by midnight of the first night liberal and conservative Democrats were brawling as usual. The only un-traditional aspect of the convention was that the progressive coalition won. Before SDEC Chairman Calvin Guest gaveled the convention to an acrimonious close Saturday evening, delegates were treated to a dandy conservative walkout, a back-room deal for Jess Hay’s seat on the National Democratic Committee, and the finest committee fight the Observer has witnessed at a state convention in the last decade. Although Gov. Dolph Briscoe’s man Guest chaired the convention, a coalition of liberal-to-moderate Carter supporters and liberal uncommitteds were in control. It all started with the Bentsen primary bill, which the Texas Legislature passed last year to help Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen in his illfated bid for the presidency. Bentsen’s bill had a winner-take-all provision, and a funny thing happened on primary dayBentsen didn’t win. Jimmy Carter took all but six of the 98 delegates to the national convention. Ed Cogburn, a Houston liberal leader, likes to quote the book of Proverbs in reference to the Bentsen bill: “He who diggeth a pit for his neighbor will fall himself therein.” The liberals ran an uncommitted primary slate in competition with Carter and Bentsen and failed to get a single delegate, but the uncommitted strategy, propounded primarily by National Democratic Committeewoman Billie Carr, finally paid off when 26 percent of the delegates to the state convention indicated in a straw poll that they were uncommitted as to presidential preference. Some 62 percent favored Carter, and the only roll call vote of the convention indicated that a goodly
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