; IVY Alk 141 ,1111114111111′ “C . 7111111 A week and a half before the Sept. 18 Democratic state convention, it looked as if Chairman Calvin Guest would survive a challenge by liberal John Henry Tatum, but Guest was running scared. Guest has been going to extraordinary lengths to assure his re-election, traveling around the state gathering support among convention delegates, rather than simply waging the traditional letter campaign. The chair and his chief supporter, Gov. Dolph Briscoe, have expended more time and effort on Guest’s campaign than either of them have spent on any other aspect of state party affairs in the past four years. The governor has been wooing dele gates at the mansion, “winin’ and dinin’ everybody and promising ’em anything they want,” according to liberal honcha Billie Carr. All those dinners are paying off. Texas AFL-CIO leaders Harry Hubbard and Sherman Fricks endorsed Guest \(although not all the union delegates will go Mexican-American Democrats organization criticized Guest but stopped short of endorsing Tatum. And a number of white liberals, including State Sen. Oscar Mauzy, Bernard Rapoport, and Dolores Tarleton, allied themselves with the incumbent. This struggle over the state leadership of the party has been an ordeal for the Jimmy Carter organization. Tatum is a Carter One, an early supporter, while Guest was a Bentsen One. But Guest, at Briscoe’s insistence, was made co-chairman of the state Carter effort, along with Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong, another Carter One. The Carter people, for the most part, have tried to walk a thin line between the two camps. But Frank Moore, Carter’s deputy national campaign director, tripped the guy wire when he signed a letter urging convention delegates and alternates to support Guest. The letter, which allegedly was ghost-written by Briscoe’s man Jess Hay, said that Armstrong also stood foursquare behind the incumbent. Armstrong said later, however, that the letter was worded “more strongly” than he had anticipated. He disavowed the endorsement and pledged to remain neutral in the chairmanship fight. Blacks on fence The black delegate caucus was also lying low on the Guest question. Billie Carr said Briscoe promised to appoint a black regent to the Texas A&M board \(A&M regentS also govern black Prairie The blacks had a problem closer to home in choosing a candidate for vice chair of the state party. The post is pledged to a black woman and there are four running. None of the four has taken sides in the Guest-Tatum struggle, but State Reps. Sen fronia Thompson of Houston and Wilhelmina Delco of Austin are said to be fairly close to the Briscoe camp. The Observer doesn’t know about Mrs. Walter Barbour of Fort Worth, but State Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas leans more to the left. \(At the June convention she helped elect State Rep. Mickey Leland as national Democratic committee member. Leland was running against State Rep. Anthony Hall, who was Briscoe’s choice for the black seat on the Tatum’s strongest licks have dealt with Guest’s failure to significantly reduce the state party debt and the paucity September 17, 1976 7
You May Also Like
Texas Professor Leonard N. Moore’s “Teaching Black History to White People” is a memoir, history lesson, and instructional manual.