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One man caught off guard by the brouhaha over the state chairmanship was Sen. Robert Dole of Kansas, the other half of the Republican ticket, who had the ticklish task of keynoting the convention. Dole refused to comment at a press conference when asked whether he was sup. porting Hutchison or Barnhart for state chairman. “We’re above intraparty disputes,” he explained, though not too convincingly, to a throng of reporters. Of course, Connally gave a peppery talk to the delegates. He told some of his favorite stories \(like the one about the alligator hunter in Floridawho got so deep in alligators, he forgot his mission was to drain watched him without changing expressions. The real story of John Connally at this convention was that he slugged it out for Hutchison for at least ten days before the convention. “Connally’s always been a huckster from the very beginning,” allowed Jimmy Lyon, the Houston.banker who served as one of Reagan’s key fundraisers. “But this time really surprised me. It’s not like Connally. He usually tries to remain above the fray. This time he’s putting it on the line.” Or as Ernest Angelo, the GOP national committeeman from Midland, explained: “He can’t have helped but lost stature by all of this. He really put the pressure on. I wish he had stayed out of this, but he didn’t.” Connally, for his part, didn’t agree with this line of thought. Asked why he had chosen to help Hutchison so much, he replied, “I didn’t help him at all. Really, I didn’t do anything for him.” The former Democratic governor was also notably modest on another point of interest. Will Ford’s performance in Texas this November be a fair index of Connally’s remaining political puissance in the Lone Star State? “Not at all,” replied Connally. “I don’t think it has anything to do with it.” Mike Smith John Connally Agriculture Commissioner John White has backed off his plans to dump Mirex poison on 3.1 million East Texas acres this month. Mirex is a highly toxic insecticide used to combat fire ants \(Obs., The State of Mississippi owns the only plant still manufacturing the insecticide, and officials have announced intentions to phase out production because of Mirex’ environmental damage and cancerous potential in humans. The plant already has curtailed shipments to Texas, supplying only about 1.5 million of the 4 million pounds of Mirex that the Texas Agriculture Department intended to use. Commissioner White said such developments “lead us to believe that they might know something about the environmental effects that we do not know,” and he postponed his planned chemical attack until he gets EPA approval. Sen. John Tower has entered the picture, calling for the continued manufacture and sale of Mirex. The insecticide is produced from pure chemical Mirex, which is made only by the Hooker Chemical Co. of Houston; a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Co. Hooker quit selling the pure chemical in July, citing questions about the long-range environmental impact of Mirex. Tower sent telegrams to the heads of Hooker and Occidental, urging them to turn out new batches for sale. Clearcutting cleared The big timber interests won on the floor of the U.S. Senate what they could not win in Federal Judge Wayne Justice’s Tyler court roomthe go-ahead to clearcut timber in the national forests. By a vote of 90 to 0, the Senate approved Hubert Humphrey’s bill to strike down an 1897 law that banned cutting “immature trees” in national forests. That ban was the peg on which Judge Justice and other federal judges had prohibited clearcutting. There are four national forests in Texas, with hundreds of thousands of acres newly vulnerable to clearcutting now that the bill has overwhelmingly passed the House and gone to the President for signing. Bob Wieland Walter Wendlandt Retiring Railroad Commissioner Jim Langdon says that GOP candidate Walter Wendlandt was just “mudslinging” when he criticized the fact that .Langdon and a lobbyist for the railroads jointly own 365 acres of land on Lake Granbury. Langdon and two of his brothers along with lobbyist Walter Civen and the Orizaba Corp. bought the land for $75,000 in 1968. Caven has a one-eighth interest and Langdon holds three-sixteenths. Wendlandt called the deal a “breach of ethics” and asked, “Is there any question why the Texas Railroad Commission does nothing in the field of railroad safety for Texans.” When he made the charges during a speech at the state GOP convention, Wendlandt did not bother to add that he has known about the transaction for eight years. The Dallas Morning News later pointed out that Wendlandt, a former director of the RRC’s transportation department, served as notary for Langdon and Caven when they arranged the purchase. Langdon told reporters that he asked Caven, an old October 1, 1976 7