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Congressman John R. Rarick Dies (9/14/2009)

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John R. Rarick Dies

September 15th, 2009

On September 14, former Congressman John R. Rarick died in St. Francisville, Louisiana, at the age of 85. He had been the American Independent Party’s presidential candidate in 1980. He had served in Congress as a Democrat from Louisiana between 1967 and 1975. He endorsed George Wallace for President in 1968, and the Democrats in Congress, in retaliation, removed his seniority.

The American Independent Party had nominated Rarick for president on August 30, 1980, in Sacramento, California. Because Rarick was nominated so late in 1980, he only appeared on the ballot in the states in which the American Independent Party already enjoyed status as a qualified party; except that he also qualified in his own state of Louisiana, which only required paying a filing fee of $500 by early September. He was credited with 41,268 votes nationwide and was on the ballot in 8 states. Thanks to Peter Gemma for this news.


167 Responses to “John R. Rarick Dies”

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 8:56 am

John Rarick’s 1966 congressional election was as hot and spicy as Cajun food. His opponent was the powerful 24 year incumbent, Congressman James Morrison. The contest was national news: the New York Times reported on its front page that the Morrison vs. Rarick race was: “… one of the fiercest campaigns in Louisiana history.” The next front page NYT story, after Rarick won the run-off, screamed “Critic of [President] Johnson Wins in Louisiana” A Washington Post story stated that “Federal employees have lost their number one Congressional champion … Morrison relied heavily on Federal employees for voter support and money to run his campaign.” Morrison called the election “the most vicious in my 24 years in Congress.”

Trent Hill Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 11:14 am

I met Rarick about a year ago. He was quite sick, but came and spoke with me about the American Independent Party (at the time I was hoping to write a detailed history of right-wing third parties since WWII. Still might). He even brought some Gold Coins that had his face on them, he had used them in campaigning–and a book he wrote called “Stand up and be an American!”

His politics may have been pretty detestable to me back in 1968, but he was a gentleman in 2008. If he was still a racist, he was quite good at concealing it.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

He was the last of the firebrands back in the day – representing the culture of the Old South before it changed, as it should have, into the New South.

He mellowed with age and had, as many old timers still do these days, a rather benign view of minorities. He resented federal solutions to local issues, and I think he felt segregation would wither, but on its own time and under its own merits. As a judge he took some heat: I’ve seen fliers from his elections accusing him of being a “ni**er” lover because he addressed black defendants and black lawyers by “Mr.” instead of simply using their last names. He took heavy fire for releasing an accused (black) rapist from prison and insisting he have a trial instead of being held on circumstantial evidence. The man was found innocent much to the frustration of KKKers and their allies. That story is told in detail in Joan Mellon’s book “Jim Garrison: His Life and Times, The Early Years.” (http://www.joanmellen.com/)

Yes, he fought for things we find hard to fathom and even repugnant, but that was a zillion years ago in political terms and in a culture far different from today.

I hope you do write a history of the AIP – an accurate story needs to be told.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I read in little right wing publications of the time that Rep. John Rarick endorsed John Schmitz for President in 1972. Schmitz received 5% in Louisiana – his highest percentage in the South.

Michael Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Congressman Schmitz once said he had more members of congress supporting him for president off the record than McGovern had supporting him openly. I think his percentage in Louisiana was a little higher, like about 7 percent.

Michael Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

P.S. To Trent, I be interested in reading your book also.

bolshevik-leninist Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Didn’t Schmitz come in second in Idaho with like 10% and McGovern with about 8%? Something like that. Maybe I’m totally making it up.

Richard Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Schmitz got 4.95% in Louisiana in 1972. In Idaho he got 9.30%, whereas McGovern got 26.0%. Schmitz’ best county in Idaho was Jefferson County, where he got 27.51%. Idaho counties in which Schmitz outpolled McGovern were Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, and Madison.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

The late Congressman John Schmitz once lamented: “The change in American policy toward Red China and President Nixon’s visit to Peking will stand as one of the great betrayals in history … I looked about me [for help from] my fellow Congressmen who had so long proclaimed from the housetops how much they opposed any dealings with Red China and found [only] John Ashbrook and Louisiana Democrat John Rarick.” (“Stranger in the Arena: The Anatomy of an Amoral Decade 1964-1974” Rayline Publishers, Santa Ana, CA, 1974; page 31.)

I do not believe Rarick actually endorsed Schmitz; he may have come close with his complimentary comments. Many Southern conservative Democrats inferred or even declared they would not be voting for McGovern, but did not specifically endorse or refer to Nixon (or in Rarick’s case) Schmitz as the recipient of their support.

John R. Rarick Dies | Independent Political Report Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

[...] Posted in Ballot Access News: [...]

Steve Rankin Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

In 1967, Rarick ran against Gov. John McKeithen, who was seeking his second term. During the campaign, someone took a shot at Rarick; I can’t recall whether anyone was ever arrested for that, but I always thought it was rather strange.

Early in Reagan’s administration as governor, he made a deal with the Democrats to raise taxes. He met with Schmitz, then a state senator, to try to convince him to support the increase. When Schmitz came out, he said, “The next time I have to spend 45 minutes with that actor, I’m taking a bag of popcorn!”

Schmitz represented San Clemente, where Nixon had a home, in Congress. After Schmitz criticized Nixon’s 1972 trip to China, Nixon sent Murray Chotiner to help defeat Schmitz in the Republican primary.

Schmitz beat Lester Maddox for the ‘72 AIP nomination. Maddox was the ‘76 nominee.

Bob Dornan, a fellow Catholic, beat Schmitz in the ‘84 Republican primary for Congress. The main issue was IUDs.

Cody Quirk Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 4:40 pm

I hope you do write a history of the AIP – an accurate story needs to be told.

= The late Bill Shearer wrote a history about the AIP into the early 90’s. Talk to his daughter Nancy about it.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Congressman Rarick entered the 1967 Louisiana gubernatorial election in a long shot campaign against the popular incumbent Governor John McKeithen. The state’s chief executive had been brought before a Grand Jury investigating organized crime in Louisiana however, and McKeithen was running as a moderate on civil rights—both possible wedge issues. Days before the gubernatorial election Rarick was the target of an assassination attempt. The Washington Post (November 3, 1967, page four), reported: “A gunman fired four quick shots in a driveway early today at Rep. John Rarick (D-LA), a candidate for governor in Saturday’s Democratic primary.” The Post quoted Rarick’s reaction: “The whole thing happened about like the flip of a finger—at first it sounded like someone threw a cherry bomb. Then I turned around and looked at this car. This fellow was pointing a gun right at me. The shots kept coming. I jumped between cars … I couldn’t even tell you how many shots were fired. You don’t count when you’re looking down a gun barrel.”

A Rarick campaign aide, when asked by the New York Times (November 3,1987, page 32) about a link to organized crime, answered; “It possibly could, we’ve been hitting [the issue] pretty hard.” Congressman Rarick received about 18% of the vote in a five way race against Governor McKeithen who stated that: “This is the first time that a [Louisiana] governor has won without taking a big stand as a conservative.” (the New York Times, November 5, 1967; page 62).

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Steve Rankin: “Schmitz beat Lester Maddox for the ‘72 AIP nomination. Maddox was the ‘76 nominee.”

Actually Schmitz was nearly unopposed at the ‘72 AIP convention (once it was clear Wallace was unable to carry the banner). Maddox beat out John Rarick in ‘76 for the AIP nod—Rarick was nominated in ‘80 by what was left of the AIP.

Trent Hill Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:03 pm


I’ve read, and I own, Mr. Shearer’s commentary. Unfortunately it is riddled with personal commentary and stories of old, and ridiculous, arguements with former allies. A proper history of right wing third parties since WWII should be written.

Trent Hill Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

“Bob Dornan, a fellow Catholic, beat Schmitz in the ‘84 Republican primary for Congress. The main issue was IUDs.”

And Bob Dornan later approached the American Independent Party, in 2005, about running for Congress in the…48th? District. The AIP passed over him in favor of Jim Gilchrist.

Mark Seidenberg Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Trent Hill is wrong in his post 16 about 2005 and Jim Gilchrist.

Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American Independent Party.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

McKeithen was public service commissioner before he was governor. A family friend of mine who lived in Louisiana always swore that McK took money from the natural gas companies in exchange for raising rates.

McK beat Chep Morrison, the ex-mayor of New Orleans and JFK’s OAS ambassador, in the January ‘64 Democratic runoff. McK campaigned as a conservative and a segregationist. He was popular during his first term, and the constitution was changed to allow the governor to succeed himself (bumper-stickers in the referendum campaign read, “Let McKeithen Run Again”).

In ‘67, Rarick said he wanted to “take the LBJ brand off of Louisiana.” McK was likely positioning himself for a possible slot on the ‘68 national Democratic ticket, and he was high on the list for Hubert Humphrey’s running mate. George Wallace carried Louisiana in the ‘68 race, and McK became very unpopular by the end of his term.

In 1972, U. S. Sen. Allen Ellender died suddenly during the Democratic primary campaign, and Bennett Johnston won the nomination. McKeithen then jumped into the race as an independent. If memory serves, Johnston got 56%, McK 25%, and the Republican 19%. That was McK’s last campaign.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Rarick trivia #1 …

Rarick followed an unusual strategy in 1971, at the height of the controversial Vietnam war. Joining fellow Democrats Robert Leggett (California) and Parren Mitchell (Maryland) in a left/right coalition, the trio sponsored the “People Power Over War Act,” a Constitutional Amendment based on the text of something originally known as the “Ludlow Amendment.” The prototype legislation was introduced every year from 1935 to 1941 by Congressman Louis Ludlow (D-Indiana) in opposition to President Franklin Roosevelt’s interventionist foreign policy initiatives. The text of the “People Power Over War Act,” read in part: “Except in the event of an attack or invasion the authority of Congress to declare war shall not become effective until confirmed by a majority of all votes cast thereon in a nationwide referendum.”

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Rarick trivia #2 …

Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC) was a leading critic and investigator of government surveillance and intimidation tactics as part of the Watergate-era abuses of the Nixon Administration. A front page New York Times article (“Wider Army Surveillance of Top Officials Disclosed,” February 29, 1972) brought to light some of his startling findings:

“Senator Sam T. Ervin, Jr. disclosed today that Army intelligence surveilance of civilian officials from late 1967 into 1970 was more extensive than had been previously revealed. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, [Ervin] said the Army had watched the political activities …” of public officials and retired politicians including “… John R. Rarick, Democrat of Louisiana … among the main targets were persons and organizations opposed to the war in Vietnam … and others considered to be anti-establishment.”

Trent Hill Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

“Trent Hill is wrong in his post 16 about 2005 and Jim Gilchrist.

Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American Independent Party.”

I’d love to hear how, perhaps i’ve been misinformed. I’ve also heard the story another way–that Dornan called Gilchrist and encouraged him to run.


But I’ve also heard it another way–which is that Dornan wanted to run, but the CP national leaders and AIP local guys preferred Gilchrist over him. This one seems more plausible.


Jeremy Young Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Wait, Bob Dornan versus John Schmitz in a primary? Must have been the most conservative primary ever. I can’t believe Dornan ran to the right of Schmitz. If I ever wake up one morning and say to myself, “I’m going to run for Congress to the right of John Schmitz,” I’ll go check myself into the funny farm.

Trent Hill Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:53 pm


Clearly you underestimate how conservative Orange County was/is.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

#14: I remember Schmitz bragging that he beat Lester Maddox for the ‘72 AIP nomination.

Maddox was Georgia governor, 1967-71; he served as lieutenant governor under Jimmy Carter, 1971-75. Maddox lost the Democratic primary for governor in 1974.

#20: Sam Ervin’s middle name was James. He filibustered at least one proposal to abolish the Electoral College.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Steve: Blame the media for the middle name blooper on Sam Ervin. I wish those were the only kinds of mistakes they made.

I was elected a delegate to the ‘72 AIP convention and as a state chairman (RI) led my delegation in support of John Schmitz. Lester Maddox was not at the convention nor was he officially part of the proceedings — he did graciously turn down a request to speak but reportedly told Bill Shearer in private that he’d accept the nomination if the AIP could quickly raise $2 million, an impossible challenge. Maddox’s name was placed in nomination by some well-meaning supporters even after he officially (to the media anyway) declined to be affiliated with the AIP and he received 55 votes (weighted by state size) to 330 for Congressman Schmitz.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Jeremy @ #21 – in 1976 John Schmitz ran for Congress in the Republican primary and lost to Ronald Reagan ally Bob Badham, a State Assembly member. Badham was at least as conservative as Bob Dornan.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Dornan and Schmitz ran against each other in the ”80 GOP US Senate primary which was won by a Republican “moderate” if I remember correctly …

Michael Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Schmitz and Dornan actually ran against each other twice. For the Senate primary in 1982 against moderate Pete Wilson, and in 1984 for congress. I agree, that must have been one conservative primary campaign!!

Michael Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 7:06 pm

P.S. Schmitz also ran for senator in 1980.

Trent Hill Says:

September 15th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Peter, are you doing a book on Rarick?

Steve Rankin Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:01 am

Pete McCloskey, Barry Goldwater Jr., and Maureen Reagan also ran in that 1982 Republican U. S. Senate primary, which Pete Wilson won.

Wilson beat Jerry Brown in November.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:40 am

Trent: the Rarick bio has morphed into larger view of Southern politics of his era – a time of turbulent transitioning. JR will play a key role because his public service starts at the beginning of the end, and his defeat marks him as the last of the firebrands. I’m helping his family in their effort to self-publish a book of remembrances both personal and political.

If you’re till thinking of doing a book on the AIP and right wing 3rd parties, I’d be delighted to help.

gary odom Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 4:42 am


If you do a work on the AIP, what could you possibly offer that was not set forth in Bill Shearer’s history of the AIP which I had sent to you a couple of years ago? Not saying you couldn’t, but if you’re going to do something new, then, of course, it should be something new.

Bill Shearer, by the way, had a fabulous library and that included a huge section on southern politics and political leaders. I mean, how many people do you know who have two books about Leander Perez in their library. I was fortunate enough to receive several of his volumes on Huey Long and many others.

By the way, I worked directly for John Rarick in 1980 when he was the AIP Nominee for President. I was just a kid in my late 20s at the time and I had worked all night at our convention on a press release announcing his nomination. When he looked at it, he just kind of smiled and said, “Kinda dry, isn’t it?” He was right. He was a true gentleman. That was about as harsh as I ever heard him be to me or anyone else.

There was no comparison between Rarick and Schmitz. Schmitz was a pompous ass who looked down his nose at the average American. If Rarick had run in 1972 he would have greatly exceeded Scmitz vote. For one thing he would have got a lot more support from Wallace voters than did Schmitz, who had nothing in common with the average Wallace supporter.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 5:00 am


I envy you for having some of Bill’s library – I interviewed him about 10 days before he passed away and he was as lively and informative regarding AIP/politics as he ever was. I was sorely tempted to steal some of his books but didn’t know how to take 50 or so volumes under my shirt and get pass Bill and Nancy.

Among the remembrances of John Rarick in obits come these two:

Sam Hyde, a history professor and author at Southeastern Louisiana University where Rarick donated his official papers, said Rarick “frequently is labeled as an extreme, arch-segregationist.” but had “a much more compassionate side that revealed a connection with the common people that transcended the racial stereotype he is most often associated with.” Former U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston served in the Senate beginning in 1972 while Rarick was still in the House. Johnston painted Rarick as a person whose bark was worse than his bite. “A lot of his positions were mad-dog positions,” said Johnston, who retired in 1996, but “once he got to Congress he was a mild and gentle person.”

BTW, I have two books about Leander Perez in MY library.


gary odom Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 5:17 am


I would agree with those analyses of John Rarick.

By the way, I have enjoyed your posts on this thread. You clearly know what you are talking about.

Yes, cancer was eating Bill’s body, but his mind was absolutely clear to the end. As you may know he was spending much of those last days writing a book on ancient Egypt.

Actually, Bill Shearer’s life would certainly merit a book. He was one in 10 million.

And finally, to Trent, I don’t want my comments to be misconstrued…knowing you I believe that you certainly have the capacity to do an outstanding work on the AIP, third parties, southern politics or whatever you choose to do. Just want to be clear on that.

Mark Seidenberg Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 7:50 am

Gary Odom,

You have the advantage over me, because in 1980, I

was working for the Reagan Campaign.

However, the Ameerican Independent Party wants to

do a good website obit for John Rarick. Therefore do you have a copy of the 1980 photo of the ticket John Rarick and Eillen Shearer that you can lend Chairman Markham Robinson for scanning onto

the official website of the American Independent


Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American

Independent Party.

gary odom Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 8:04 am


What I think you and Mr. Robinson should do is to leave well enough alone.


Mark Seidenberg Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 8:16 am

Gary Odom,

Why not a book about both William & Eillen Shearer?

I have the title, viz., MY LADY AND THE STATESMAN:

The History of the American Independent Party’s first forty years.

Sinceerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American Independent Party

What do you think about the title?

Mark Seidenberg Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 9:00 am

Trent Hill

The leadership of the American Independent Party in

2005 had high respect for both Robert Dornam and

Jim Gilchrist in 2005 as they do now.

The problem related to threats on Robert Dornan’s

son by the Tom Campbell gang in 2005. I need to

clear the details with Robert Dornam first, before

or if I made the facts public.

Please remember that Tom Campbell was trying at the

time to keep the Jewish voters away from the polls

in that 2005 special election. Remember, Tom Campbell was (and is not) a friend of the Jewish

people, by his 2005 speech to the Lincoln Club.

This will come out in 2010 when he runs for Governor on the Republican Ticket. I talked to

the leadsrship of the Republican Jewish Coalition

on that Tom Campbell attack on the Jewish Community

and I hope there is not a short memory.

Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American

Independent Party.

P.S. This Tom Campbell attack on the Jewish Voters in Orange County should be a chapter in the book


Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 9:04 am

#35 – thanks for the kudos, Gary. I think you, me, Richard, Trent and some others here and among the readers should all come over to my house (Sarasota), drink a lot of beer, trade war stories, and maybe get some work done on various writing projects.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 9:21 am

“If you do a work on the AIP, what could you possibly offer that was not set forth in Bill Shearer’s history of the AIP which I had sent to you a couple of years ago? Not saying you couldn’t, but if you’re going to do something new, then, of course, it should be something new.”

First of all–my idea is to write a history of right-wing third parties since WWII, not specifically of the AIP. I will certainly reference Mr. Shearer’s history of the AIP copiously. However, I think his history is lacking becasue of it’s personal perspective.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 9:25 am

“#35 – thanks for the kudos, Gary. I think you, me, Richard, Trent and some others here and among the readers should all come over to my house (Sarasota), drink a lot of beer, trade war stories, and maybe get some work done on various writing projects.”

I think I would be hopelessly out of place–as a 21 year old.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 9:26 am

Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy Mr. Shearer’s history of the AIP–but it is not a professional or scholarly history of the AIP, it is a personal narrative.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 9:55 am

Trent – your of legal age, obviously knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what we’re tossing about here, and you’d you be among kindred spirits … there ain’t many of those … besides, you can work on your tan in FL.

The Shearer history of AIP is invaluable albeit somewhat biased. The 3 volume “Encyclopedia of Third Parties in America” – exorbitantly expensive – is almost useless. You have to start your writing project – even if it turns out to be a monograph that can b expanded into a book later.

Richard Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 10:34 am

Unfortunately, the editors of The Encyclopedia of Third Parties in America were not at all interested in third parties of the right. The editors were enamored of Henry Wallace and Vito Marcantonio, and they let their bias into the Encyclopedia. For example, the Encyclopedia’s original article on the Socialist Labor Party (a party that the editors didn’t care about at all) was very short and inadequate, but fortunately I persuaded them to substitute a far better article written by Bob Bills, and the Bills article was printed in the Encyclopedia in place of the original article. The SLP was the original party of socialism in the U.S., and one of the 3 longest-lived minor parties in U.S. history, and it deserved a good treatment in the Encyclopedia.

gary odom Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 11:08 am


I’m there!


PS: Would be interested in crossing paths some day.


“Mr. Shearer’s history of the AIP…is not a professional or scholarly history of the AIP…”

EXCUSE ME…!!!! You should just hope to be so scholarly or professional…(and you just might, I don’t doubt that, but hopefully you will learn that not every work of value needs to be a doctoral thesis.

And, Trent, how the heck do you think you can really learn, but by hearing stories from people who were there, as Peter suggested…So if we all were to get together to swap stories…you would be a fool not to be there,too, especially if you plan to write the “scholarly” account of third parties in America.

And finally, if 21 is too young…when DO they let you drink in the Bayou State?

You are a brilliant young man with great future and I love giving you a hard time as much as you like calling me “old man.”

Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Gary, Trent, et al – where r u guys? I’m in FL, I think Gary is in CA (right?) and Trent you are in Louisiana? I know Richard is in San Francisco … what’s a half-way meeting point? More importantly, what do you guys drink? :-)

Michael Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

To Gary Odem–You may have a point about Schmitz not having anything in common with the average voter. I once read a New York Times article he wrote where all he talked about was the Federal Reserve, ect. ect. He lost votes with that article! Wallace would have talked about issues that people cared about. (Paragraph) The question would have been, in 1972, if not Schmitz for president when Wallace couldn’t run, then who? (Paragraph) Does anyone have any vote totals and information about the 1980 AIP convention? All I ever read about it is that Rarick was nominated. (Paragraph) I once read in the Schmitz archives in Kansas a newspaper article that said a group of anti-Wallace conservatives were trying to puy a Schmitz-Rarick ticket on the ballot for November, 1972? Any info on that?

Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Schmitz-Rarick would have been ideal … Rarick wasn’t interested as he was running for re-election (and he won that year). Some traditional conservatives, as opposed to more populist 3rd party activists, didn’t like Wallace’s government-takes-care-of-the-’little-people’ philosophy. Lots of trial balloons were floated that year – Maddox, Rarick, Cornelia Wallace, former Utah Gov. J. Braken Lee, etc.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

“EXCUSE ME…!!!! You should just hope to be so scholarly or professional…(and you just might, I don’t doubt that, but hopefully you will learn that not every work of value needs to be a doctoral thesis.”

There is no doubt that Mr. Shearer was a genius, whether or not I agreed with all of his politics and tactics. I’m just saying the book cannot possibly be widely distributed. It is useful for intimating knowledge of the AIP–but is not a scholarly or professional treatment of the subject. In fact, it was not intended to be, I don’t think. My aim is not to insult =).

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

“And finally, if 21 is too young…when DO they let you drink in the Bayou State? ”

haha. Ironically, we were the LAST state to bump our drinking age up to 21.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

“Gary, Trent, et al – where r u guys? I’m in FL, I think Gary is in CA (right?) and Trent you are in Louisiana? I know Richard is in San Francisco … what’s a half-way meeting point? More importantly, what do you guys drink? :-)”

Gary is located in Lancaster, PA–but used to live in CA, I think. Im in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I drink vodka, almost exclusively, and occasionally Jameson.

Mr. Anon Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

not sure if this vote is for the AIP-CA line or the national AIP line


Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:17 pm


It is ironic that trial balloons were sent up to both Schmitz and J. Bracken Lee. Schmitz, if memory serves, was backed by the John Birch Society and was largely identified with them nationally. J. Bracken Lee, on the other hand, had spoken ill of the Society and fired their chief spokesman, Cleon Skousen.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Mark @ #39 – JOHN Campbell was elected over Jim Gilchrest in 2005 – he is not the same person as TOM Campbell, who is running for Governor in the Republican primary.

I thought that Dornan was not able to run as an AIP candidate because California requires that you be registered in a party for three months before filing date, and not in any other party for 9 months before that. I would bet that Dornan was probably still a Republican when he talked about running as an AIP candidate in 2005.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 2:31 pm


There are a lot of different stories about it. I’d be interested in digging into it and getting the story from the horses mouth–from Jim Gilchrist, Bob Dornan, The guys in the AIP, as well as Gary Odom/Jim Clymer.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 3:01 pm

#53 – that site, Our Campaigns, is terrific for trivia enthusiasts (although I don’t think it’s 100% accurate). The scores listed on that page are balloting results from the 1980 convention.

Trent: Schmitz was on the Council of the JBS (leadership committee) and was heir-apparent to founder Rob’t Welch (until Scmitz’s personal crash). JB Lee was a fan of the JBS in its earliest years, but became a critic when he wasn’t the center of its attention. Skousen was a fair-haired JBS fellow until he and Welch had a falling-out — that personality clash was behind the scenes. Lee and Skousen were deadly enemies.

I will be in Baton Rouge at some point in the near future to finish going through the Rarick papers at SELU. I’ll definitely try and hook-up with you. If you are free tomorrow, you should go to the Rarick services – he’ll be wearing his famous Confederate boots that got him in hot water when he wore them around the House floor.

Paulie Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Gary, Trent, et al – where r u guys? I’m in FL, I think Gary is in CA (right?) and Trent you are in Louisiana? I know Richard is in San Francisco … what’s a half-way meeting point? More importantly, what do you guys drink? :-)

Although I’ve not been invited, I’ll invite you all here – I’m currently in Denver, which I think is the closest major city to the geographic center of the Lower 48 continental US States. Not sure how much longer I’ll be here; I’m in town to work on tax cut initiative signature gathering.

I’m partial to stouts and barleywines; the Vine St. Pub is a block from here, and has an excellent Java Porter. There’s also the Falling Rock Tap House in LoDo (lower downtown) with about 70 beers on tap and more in bottles. As for hard liquor, there are many, many liquor stores and bars up and down Colfax, which I’m two blocks away from – “the longest, wickedest street in America.” Back in Alabama, I’m a big fan of Muscadine wines, but I’ve yet to see them out here.

Paulie Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Also, for any of you who are not loathe to stay in hostels, I’m at the Hostel of the Rockies, which is really nice. Denver International Youth Hostel is a bit more run down, and cheaper ($15 a night vs. $24).

Cody Quirk Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Trent, Bill’s history of the AIP may have been told from his perspective, yet he told it in such vivid detail and even backed up most of his account with pictures and numerous references to former platforms, documents, etc.

His writting of the AIP History is extremely invaluable.


Cody Quirk Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

BTW Guys, u should think about Nevada as the gathering place; its legal to walk around town with a bottle of beer or wine in your hand, plus the bars and restaraunts here don’t have a ‘last call’.

That and the state is rich in Party history and activism that’s still going on to this day, as many of you know.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Peter @ #57 & Trent @ #54 – John Schmitz was a long-time (& notorious) member of The John Birch Society. After he received the AIP nomination for President, Welch appointed him to The Council of the JBS.

The John Birch Society does not endorse candidates because it would detract from the educational work of The Society, and possibly promote division. But the Society’s bulletins in 1972 plugged the Schmitz-Anderson ticket, and AIP campaign offices distributed JBS literature, including American Opinion reprints about Schmitz.

Frank Mintz in his book on The Liberty Lobby shows that Willis Carto moved in on the Schmitz campaign. Eventually Carto got Schmitz to visit a Palestinian camp and denounce Israel, and Welch expelled John Schmitz from The John Birch Society for extremism.

Mark Seidenberg Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Gene Beckman,

Gene are we talking about two Tom Campbell, viz.,

one that is a Congressman and someone else that is

running for Governor? If so, I am sorry most Republican look alike (or is it they talk alike). It has been too many years since I was one, I am recovering from the Republican Party.

Back in 2005, the Tom I am talking about made a

speech to the Lincoln Club explaining how the

Governor will keep Jewish Voters (viz., liberal

votes) away from the polls by setting the election date on a Jewish Holiday. I flew up to Sacramento

the day before the Governor set the date. Was

in the Governor outer office to explain why he

should set the alternative date that did not fall

on a Jewish holiday. Bottom line the Governor

did not take my advise. William Shearer was very

upset with the Governor at that time over the

setting of the date.

As for John Schmitz, I still remember when Dana Rohrabocker and I went to the University of California during the 1969 Strike with

the sign “Shut CAL Down and Sell It” in reaction to

the sign “On Strike Shut CAL Down”. John Schmitz

had a bill in the California State Senate to sell

the University of California and get the State of California out of higher education. I remember

telling that story to Ludwig Von Mises a few years

later and he told me that was good thinking on Dana’s part.

Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American

Independent Party.

Trent Hill Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

“I will be in Baton Rouge at some point in the near future to finish going through the Rarick papers at SELU. I’ll definitely try and hook-up with you. If you are free tomorrow, you should go to the Rarick services – he’ll be wearing his famous Confederate boots that got him in hot water when he wore them around the House floor.”

I can’t make it–though I certainly wish I could. Definetly contact me next time you are in Baton Rouge. I’d love to thumb through Rarick’s papers with you and grab some food.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

“Does anyone have any vote totals and information about the 1980 AIP convention?”

If memory serves me correctly, William K. Shearer covered the 1980 convention in some detail in his marvelous history of the American Independent Party. Bill and Eileen — bless their souls — had sent me quite a bit of material on that campaign for one of my later volumes of OTHERS.

In any case, a number of folks actively sought the American Independent Party’s presidential nomination in 1980, including Gov. Meldrim Thomson, the erratic, ultraconservative governor of New Hampshire who later announced that he was forming a new Constitution Party — a party, incidentally, that died aborning later that spring as a result of the Reagan juggernaut.

Pro-lifer Morton Downey, Jr., the bombastic, chain-smoking talk show host who defeated Rarick by 480 votes in California’s non-binding presidential primary a few months earlier, was also briefly in the hunt.

Interestingly, Cliff Finch, the former governor of Mississippi who entered nine Democratic primaries earlier that year, also briefly toyed with the idea of seeking the AIP’s presidential nomination in 1980.

One by one, the field narrowed and by convention time the nomination was essentially the former Louisiana congressman’s for the asking. As expected, he easily defeated free-market economist Percy L. Greaves, who was then his only rival for the nomination. A brilliant and principled writer and lecturer who was fairly liberal on social issues such as abortion, Greaves — interestingly enough — was a veteran of the short-lived Constitution Party which had symbolically nominated an unwilling General Douglas MacArthur for the presidency in 1952.

As expected, Rarick garnered 63 votes on the convention’s first and only ballot to ten for the hapless Greaves, and one for little-known Richard D. Schumacher of Phoenix. Eileen Shearer, Rarick’s vice-presidential running mate, had a somewhat closer contest, receiving support from slightly more than half the delegates while defeating Arthur E. Lee of Bellingham, Washington, and businessman Thomas A. McCrary, a former CIA planning chief who chaired the party’s affiliate in Georgia.

The 74-year-old Greaves, who had resigned from New York’s Conservative Party when it endorsed Richard Nixon’s re-election in 1972, remained in the race as the nominee of the rival American Party, whose presidential nomination he reluctantly accepted in late 1979 when party leaders were unable to attract a better known candidate.

This is a truly interesting thread and, needless to say, I look forward to reading Peter Gemma’s book.

Mark Seidenberg Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Gene Beckman,

Both my late parents and I have had problems with

Willis Cardo. My father was an active dentist in

the fight to prevent the floridation of the water

supply of the City of Los Angeles in the 1950’s. Cardo attached my father for being a Zionist spy in the anti-floridation movement. I remember back in the 1970’s when I got my first telecom from Willis Cardo, that telecom came in while I was having a meeting with our long time friend Alan Bock. Alan at that time suggested to cut Cardo off

and end the call. Which I did.

These issues with Willis Cardo were nothing compared to the problems that Cardo had with Willian Sheare. They should be in the boo also.

Sincerely, mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman, American Independent Party

Michael Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Mark #62, I remembered that the JBS publications plugged Schmitz for president in 1972. I believe the Liberty Lobby also published a campaign folder for him that year. After Schmitz was expelled from the JBS in 1982, he joined the Liberty Lobby and became pro-Palestinian. (Paragraph) Darcy #65, I was a presidential elector for Governor Thomson in 1980 and still believe his campaign had a chance but was handled badly from the start and it ended when it became know Reagan would be the GOP nominee. It took 22 ballots to nominate Greaves as the American Party nominee. “Not Voting” kept winning each ballot until Greaves finally got enough votes to win. “Not Voting” was the plan to give the nomination to Governor Thomson. If Thomson had just gone to the convention and given a speech, he would have won outright and gotten on the ballot in 10 states right from the start. (Paragraph) By any chance, do you have a state-by-state roll call listing of the AIP presidential ballot where Rarick won in 1980? I collect information like that.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 16th, 2009 at 10:39 pm

In 1976, Meldrim Thomson endorsed Reagan over President Ford in the New Hampshire Republican primary.

In the late 1990s, John Schmitz addressed a conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens in Virginia, which I watched on C-SPAN. He spoke on third parties, and he said, “Just think if we had all the sheriffs.” Schmitz was running a vineyard in Virginia at the time.

Schmitz appeared on ‘Meet the Press’ during the ‘72 campaign and acquitted himself well.

#65: “Interestingly, Cliff Finch, the former governor of Mississippi who entered nine Democratic primaries earlier that year, also briefly toyed with the idea of seeking the AIP’s presidential nomination in 1980.”

The main thing I remember about Finch and that ‘80 campaign was the overhead shot of him in a heart-shaped bath tub (or swimming pool). He drove an 18-wheeler cross-country to show his concern for working people.

Rep. Trent Lott headed Reagan’s ‘80 campaign in Mississippi. I attended a meeting at which Lott spoke, and he listed the Democratic presidential candidates: “Carter, Kennedy… Finch…” That brought the house down, since Finch was a laughing-stock after his disastrous term as governor.

In 1986, Finch was preparing to run again for governor in 1987. He drank 40-50 cups of coffee per day (no joke), and he dropped dead with a heart attack. He was age 59.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 2:32 am

#60 – Cody is so right. Bill’s story of the AIP the foundation on which any history of the third party movement in America must begin. There’s more to be added than Bill’s commentary and reports, but that’s the fun of treasure hunting/research.

#61. Nevada is perfect: we can win some money to underwrite our writing projects

#62. I think it was Schmitz’s personal problems that got him tossed out of the JBS – he then embraced issues he felt more comfortable with like the plight of the Palestinians and it’s alright to say you’re white.

#65. This thread is one very good reason why I start my day of political reading with BAN. Thanks Richard.

#67. Gov. Thomson – who was a solid guy – ran for Gov. of NH as the American party candidate in 1970. He switched (back) to the GOP and won the following 3 elections. Had Bush I been the nominee in ‘80, Mel Thomson would have been a high-profile alternative, and with Rarick on the ticket, they could have rejuvenated the AIP/third party movement. I’m not sure the strong wills of Thomson and Shearer could have survived in the same tent.

gary odom Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 4:58 am


Trent is correct. I am a Californian exiled most of the time in Lancaster, PA, except when I can go back and bug Gene Berkman in our hometown of Riverside, CA.

Drink…Whatever you got will probably work. If we are going to eat, as well, we should drop in on Trent’s hometown of Baton Rouge…that’s where the really good food is to be found (as long as you like shellfish).


gary odom Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 5:00 am

Cliff Finch was also pretty much a laughing stock when he spoke to the AIP national meeting in “I can’t quite remember when, but I was there,”

Peter Gemma Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 5:52 am

Back to John Richard Rarick … his family is kinda sad that the obits all carry the tag line of segregationist or arch-segregationist etc., without some sort of context or without reference to other aspects of his career (see #3). For example, in Congress he sponsored a number of innovative legislation (see #19) such as …

• H.R.10851: A bill to provide for paper money to carry a designation in braille indicating the denomination.

• H.R.6359: A bill that would allow a deduction from gross income any expenses incurred in connection with the adoption of a child.

• H.R.118: A bill to permit citizens of the United States to acquire, hold, and dispose of gold.

• H.R.119: A bill to vest in the Government of the United States unconditional ownership of the 12 Federal Reserve banks.

• H.R.960: A bill that would reduce the public debt by at least 10 percent of the estimated overall Federal receipts for each fiscal year.

• H.R.5164: A bill to provide that the first $5,000 of compensation paid to law enforcement officers and firemen in any taxable year not be subject to the Federal income tax [note: consider that figure was in 1973 dollars.]

gary odom Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 6:04 am


Good lord…I was there and didn’t remember some of that stuff until read your post (#65).

By the way, Morton Downey, Jr. was going by Sean Downey at the time and was selling himself as a pro-life Democrat and was trying to be Kenndyesque, as he knew them when he was young. He had good schtick, but he wasn’t genuine. His Wally George (who nobody out of Southern California will probably remember) talk show persona came a bit later. Also not genuine.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 6:23 am

remember why Downey fell out of politics and lost his nat’l talk show? He was found in the back of a van with an underage girl …

Peter Gemma Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 6:30 am

I can’t find the reference to his arrest for a sex crime, so I might be wrong about Downey. I have carried that memory through the years and it’s gotta be based on something, but maybe it wasn’t Downey (so many political sex scandals one can get confused I guess). And poor Morton – he’s got enough baggage on his grave that he needs no more.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 6:33 am


#73: I never heard of Wally George until I saw him on ‘Biography’ on A&E. He was incredibly rude to some of the guests on his show.

He was estranged from his daughter, the actress Rebecca DeMornay. He criticized her for turning down a marriage proposal from Tom Cruise.

Downey’s TV show used to come on late at night here. He would sprint out with a cigarette in his hand. One of his favorite terms was “pabulum puking.”

Downey later lost a talk radio gig in California (Sacramento?) for telling a joke about a “Chinaman.”

I never knew that Downey had run for president.

Michael Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 7:45 am

Why did Cliff Finch want to run for the AIP nomination in the first place? Was he a conservative? Was he having second thoughts about his not endorsing Governor Wallace for president in 1976 and wanted to mkae up for it? What was the story behind his campaign?

Michael Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 7:46 am

Now I remember Wally George. Johnny Carson once said, “Wally George is William F. Buckley for people who attend rooster fights.”

Steve Rankin Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 9:26 am

I don’t remember Finch having much of a campaign in 1980. It’s news to me that (1) he ran in as many as nine Democratic primaries, and (2) he had any interest in the AIP nomination. He was a populist who was mainly interested in power.

Finch put together a “black neck/redneck” coalition in his winning ‘75 gubernatorial campaign. He ran a “workingman’s campaign,” copied from Tom Harkin’s ‘74 US House race in Iowa. Finch would spend a day performing such jobs as operating a bulldozer, giving haircuts, working on a shrimp boat, etc. He carried a lunchbox with him, and that was his campaign symbol. (He also often wore a hard hat.) It was a gimmick that, unfortunately, captured the voters’ imagination. For me, it was surreal.

When Jim Eastland retired in ‘78, Finch ran for the Senate and finished second in the Democratic primary. He indirectly attacked Eastland, who endorsed his opponent in the Dem runoff. Finch said he lost because the people wanted him to complete his term as governor.

In November, Thad Cochran won a four-way race with 45 percent.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the informative — and witty — comments by Peter Gemma, Steve Rankin, Gary Odom and Michael. Good stuff.

Michael @67: That’s fascinating information about the American Party’s national convention in Pasadena in December 1979. Thanks for sharing it with us. I knew the presidential balloting had proceeded through multiple ballots, but I was unaware that Greaves wasn’t nominated until the twenty-second ballot! That’s incredible and probably explains why the obscure New York economist agreed to run in the first place. With Meldrim Thomson no longer in the running, the party was essentially deadlocked. According to Greaves, a majority of delegates simply couldn’t agree on any one candidate and, as a consequence, he was finally persuaded to run. Like other American Party leaders at the Pasadena convention, he was deeply worried that failure to nominate a presidential ticket that year would lead to the party’s early demise.

Though not a particularly dynamic speaker, one could argue that the little-known Greaves, the author of several books and an authority on Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, boasted credentials as impressive as any third-party candidate running that year. As the young financial editor of David Lawrence’s prestigious United States News, which later became U.S. News & World Report, Greaves attended almost every press conference by FDR and his Cabinet during the Great Depression. Naturally, he was philosophically opposed to the New Deal.

Among other things, his resume also included a stint as an associate research director for the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., and he later served as the chief minority staff member on the joint congressional committee investigating the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the latter role and later as a revisionist historian, Greaves was among those who questioned the Roosevelt Administration’s official version of events leading up to the attack on December 7, 1941.

In reply to your question, I’m not sure if I have a state-by-state breakdown of the balloting at the American Independent Party’s national convention, but I’ll dig through my files on the 1980 presidential election this weekend when I have a bit more time.

In the meantime, William Shearer’s first-hand account indicates that 17 states were represented at the Sacramento convention and that both Rarick and Greaves personally addressed the delegates.

With ninety delegates at one-half vote apiece, California had by far the largest delegation. John Rarick received 44 1/2 of the state’s votes while Greaves received only one-half vote from the Golden State.

According to Shearer, Rarick captured all or a majority of the votes from eleven states while Greaves was supported by the Nevada, Washington and New York delegations. A delegate from New Mexico cast his state’s lone vote for Richard Schumacher. Delegates from Idaho and Missouri were apparently absent when the roll call was taken.

I hope this helps.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Peter @ #69 – you are correct that John Schmitz had personal problems which were also a factor in his expulsion from The John Birch Society. But his close ties with Liberty Lobby were also a factor.

When I met John Schmitz in 1973, he was already talking about the Palestinians, and his visit to a Palestinian camp was the main official reason for his purge.

In later years, Schmitz became involved with the German American Political Action Committee (GANPAC) which is best avoided by real German Americans (including me).

Cody Quirk Says:

September 17th, 2009 at 8:14 pm

#60 – Cody is so right. Bill’s story of the AIP the foundation on which any history of the third party movement in America must begin. There’s more to be added than Bill’s commentary and reports, but that’s the fun of treasure hunting/research.

= Maybe his testimony can be used as an official guide for building and sustaining a successful third party.

#61. Nevada is perfect: we can win some money to underwrite our writing projects

= I dunno if the IAP would fund that. Our money squarely goes to party building and elections only.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 3:24 am

#80: “… David Lawrence’s prestigious United States News, which later became U.S. News & World Report…”

David Lawrence was a big proponent of the parliamentary system. He would periodically write columns about how much better off the U. S. would be if we changed to a parliamentary system.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 5:46 am

#82 What?!? The IAP won’t fund a gambling conclave of third party kooks from around the nation? Sounds like it’s time for another purge!


Here’s something I only stumbled upon recently: Tom Anderson ran for the US Sen. in TN after in the declining days of the Amer. Party and scored fairly well if I recall – something like 4-6-8% And speaking of Pigeon Forge (um, where Anderson lived), what happened to Dr. John Grady – the articulate FL 3rd party candidate – who moved to Pigeon Forge TN, started a Second Amendment advocacy group, but was never heard from again (at least by me).

Michael Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Tom Anderson ran for senator against Howard Baker in 1978 becuase of his vote to give away the Panama Canal. He got 4 percent of the vote in Tennessee and in one county got 14 percent. Dr. Grady got 17 percent of the vote as the American Party candidate in 1974, then ran as the GOP candidate in 1976. At the GOP National Convention that year he got 19 votes, all from Florida, for vice president. In November, he got only 33 percent of the vote in a two candidate race. I know he lives now in Tennessee, nothing beyond that. (Paragraph) I forgot to mention I met Congressman Rarick once and I said to him we were both Hoosiers. He laughted and said, “Yes. I went to Ball State University, in Munice, Indiana, and it drives them crazy that the only student from there who ever got elected to Congress voted against every education spending bill while he was in office!”

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

The last I heard Dr. Grady was living in Benton, Tennessee, about 75 miles from Pigeon Forge. Long out of the political limelight, he’ll be 79 in November.

In addition to Thomas J. Anderson, it’s interesting that Delmar Dennis, the American Party’s presidential nominee in 1984 and 1988, also resided in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and had actually launched a couple of publications based in Pigeon Forge. The 56-year-old Dennis was living in nearby Sevierville — about six miles from Pigeon Forge — when he succumbed to a heart attack in 1996.

Perhaps they all wanted to be close to Dolly Parton — America’s most authentic lyricist!

Cody Quirk Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Hey, I remember the AP elected a state assemblyman in Tennessee in the early 70’s, anybody got info on that?

Another thing, I also remember, there was a student chapter of the AIP operating at Brigham Young University back then- does anybody know who the leaders of that student chapter were? Was Bruce Bangerter involved?

Michael Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I believe his name was William Davis and was in office from 1972-1980. He was the only American Party member of a state legislature. His victory caused the two major parties in the state of Tennessee to remove party labels for candidates on the ballot. He also ran for Congress in 1969 and Governor Wallace campaigned for him. Out of several candidates, Davis placed second. Some say that Davis’ loss was what convinced Wallace to run as a Democrat for president in 1972 instead of staying third party. (Paragraph) Utah was a center of American Party activity in the 1970s. I also heard from one party member they elected a county commissioner there.

Michael Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

P.S. Davis was a state senator.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 18th, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I think Davis, an insurance agent from Covington, was actually elected to the State Senate in 1970, about twenty months after he campaigned unsuccessfully in a special election for Tennessee’s rural eight congressional district seat.

Michael has a great memory. George Wallace, who had carried the fourteen-county district against Humphrey and Nixon the previous autumn, actively campaigned for Davis during his congressional campaign, giving a widely-publicized speech for the American Party nominee in Union City a week before the special election. It was Wallace’s first political speech since his 1968 presidential campaign.

Incidentally, the 1969 special election attracted national attention as leading politicians from both major parties, including Gerald R. Ford, stumped the district for their party’s respective nominees.

Interestingly, Wallace wasn’t the only former third-party presidential candidate who took part in the Tennessee special election that spring. Dick Gregory, the former Freedom & Peace candidate for President, actively campaigned in the district’s black communities on behalf of O. W. Pickett, an African-American businessman from Memphis who was running as an independent.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

#86: That must be the same Delmar Dennis who was an ex-Ku Klux Klansman and testified for the prosecution in at least one Klan leader’s murder trial.

#88 and #90: That congressional district was in west Tennessee. Who vacated the seat and why?

#85: What office did Dr. Grady run for in Tennessee in 1976? I thought you meant US senator, but ‘76 was the year that the Republican Sen. Bill Brock lost re-election to the Democrat Jim Sasser. It came out during the campaign that Brock had not paid income tax, and almost overnight, bumperstickers appeared that said, “I Paid More Income Tax Than Bill Brock.”

Does anyone know what became of the Conservative Party of Virginia? They were Birchers who were disenchanted with the leftward drift of the state Democratic Party (in the 1960s). If memory serves, one of their candidates once got 13% or 14% for a statewide office.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Steve @ #91 – Delmar Dennis did testify in the trial of Byron de la Beckwith in the murder of three civil rights workers in Missippi in 1963. The story of Dennis’ heroism in laid out in “Klandestine” by William McIlheny

Dr John Grady ran for U.S. Senate in Florida, before he moved to Tennessee. He was The American Party candidate i 1974, and the Republican candidate in 1976.

I am pretty sure that the Virginia Conservative Party put Schmitz on the ballot in 1972. Don’t know anything after that.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Beckwith murdered Medgar Evers in 1963 and was tried twice in the ’60s, with both trials ending with hung juries. He was convicted here in Jackson in 1995.

Alec Baldwin played Bobby DeLaughter, the assistant DA who led the prosecution, in the TV movie (James Woods played Beckwith, and Rob Reiner directed). DeLaughter later became a state judge but is now headed to prison for lying to the FBI.

Thanks for the info.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Steve – The eighth congressional district had been represented by Democrat Robert A. Everett, who died in January of that year. Interestingly, that district had once been represented by Davy Crockett.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

By the way, John G. Schmitz appeared on the Virginia ballot under the American Party label in 1972. The American Party, whose Virginia campaign was headed by T. Coleman Andrews — the former IRS Commissioner and independent States’ Rights candidate for President in 1956 — slipped in just before the state’s filing deadline, submitting 14,400 signatures to qualify the Schmitz-Anderson ticket.

The Virginia ballot had a truly democratic look that year. The Socialist Labor Party’s Louis Fisher of Chicago, a little-known silk spotter in the dry cleaning industry, was listed first on the November ballot, followed by the American Party’s presidential ticket. Nixon was listed third and Democrat George S. McGovern was listed last.

Cody Quirk Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 4:30 pm

Thanks for the info, but what about that student AIP chapter at BYU?

Peter Gemma Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I love this board

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 8:39 pm


I’m not really sure if I can shed any light on the BYU chapter, other than to say that I’ve read that the party had a flourishing organization on campus during that period. I think this was a little after Bruce Bangerter’s years at BYU. Of course, he attended college there from 1960-64, but that’s not to say that he didn’t have a hand in getting it organized. He probably did.

Moreover, I understand that there was a really active IAP chapter at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in neighboring Idaho. Then a two-year Mormon facility located in the predominantly Latter-day Saints community of Rexburg, the vibrant student organization at Ricks College was believed to have contributed immensely to John G. Schmitz’s relatively strong 9% showing in the state in 1972 — his best showing in the nation. As you know, Schmitz finished ahead of George McGovern in four counties, including Madison County where Ricks College was located.

Like Minnesota’s Eugene McCarthy who briefly contemplated moving to New Hampshire to launch a political comeback during this same period, Schmitz, who taught political science at Santa Ana College in southern California after leaving Congress, seriously considered moving to Idaho shortly after the 1972 presidential campaign. He felt at home there.

While looking at property in and around Idaho Falls in the spring of 1973, the former congressman told Idaho reporters that he didn’t have any immediate political plans, but wanted to keep “several options open.” At 42, he was still a relatively young man, and one can only speculate how his later political career might have been different if he had relocated to a more traditionally conservative state like Idaho.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 8:42 pm


Same here. This thread has really been interesting.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

…and my deepest sympathy to you and the Rarick family.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 11:09 pm


I meant to respond earlier to your question about the Conservative Party of Virginia in post #91, but got sidetracked. The Conservative Party’s William J. Story, a lifelong educator and member of the John Birch Society from Chesapeake, polled 75,307 votes, or 13.4%, in Virginia’s 1965 gubernatorial contest — a race that, curiously enough, also featured the American Nazi Party’s George Lincoln Rockwell. Rockwell, incidentally, received about one vote for every ten votes cast for the Conservative Party nominee.

Story and other Conservative Party leaders actively campaigned for George Wallace in 1968.

The Conservative Party, whose founding in 1965 essentially signalled the beginning of the end of Democratic dominance in Virginia politics, petered out in 1969 when most party leaders supported Linwood Hilton, the first Republican governor of Virginia since Reconstruction. While most of the party’s rank and file eventually found their way into the GOP, a few others — the true third-party folks — briefly followed T. Coleman Andrews into the fledgling American Party.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

That’s Linwood Holton, not Hilton. Sorry, I’m getting tired.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 3:20 am

Thanks for the info on the Conservative Party of Virginia, Darcy. Not long ago, Linwood Holton was on C-SPAN promoting his book. He had a strong voice and seemed to have all his mental faculties, but his face looked emaciated. He was bad-mouthing the conservatives in the Republican Party.

You mentioned Eugene McCarthy in comment #98. Maybe you can answer this question: Would McCarthy have run again for senator in 1970 if Hubert Humphrey had not run? At the time, it appeared to me that Humphrey scared McCarthy out of the race.

Also, did McCarthy run in any Democratic presidential primaries in 1972? If so, how did he do? I know that he was on several ballots in the 1976 general election as an independent or third party candidate. I believe he cost Jimmy Carter at least one state.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 6:41 am

I lived in VA most of my adult life — where I was full time in politics. Very interesting state for that industry.

T. Coleman Andrews Sr. of VA was the ‘56 States Rights Party. Also, in ‘56 Andrews, Sr. had former CA Cong. Thomas H. Werdel (R-CA) as his running mate … I have a small political button collection and the Andrews-Werdel button reads “Abolish Income Tax – Save Segregation.” Anyone know anything about Werdel? Was he pretty far out on the right to hook-up with a pro-segregation candidate? Trent, you have any background on that election – wasn’t Utah Gov. J. Bracken Lee organizing a Third party party too that year? What happened to his efforts?

T. Coleman Andrews Jr. was a (Dem.) state legislator ‘60-’66 and was influencial in the ‘68 Wallace campaign but quickly fell out of favor with the AIP in ‘69/’70 – anyone know why?

T. Coleman Andrews III, is a founding partner with Mitt Romney of the multi-billion dollar Bain Priivate Equity Fund. He very briefly launched a campaign for Lt. Gov. of VA in ‘97 and was viewed as the early favorite for the GOP nod and even gen’l election. Then, very suddenly (even suspiciously), he dropped out of the race.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 7:06 am

Darcy et al – Interesting that the Conservative Party of VA dissipated in ‘65 or so … my book about the hard edge of Southern politics will show (I hope) that the massive resistance to desegregation was about to collapse in ‘64-’65. It then evolved into a more populist movement with George Wallace as its best known representative. The issues in ‘66-’76 were school choice not segregation; law and order and not voter registration. The era of confrontation to desegregation was approximately late 40s-mid 60s. John Rarick’s political career started at the beginning of the end of that time period (’61), and by the time he was defeated (’74) he was the last of the old guard.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 7:18 am

Peter: Interesting that an ex-IRS commissioner would favor abolishing the income tax. Which president appointed him?

As for segregation, did you know that FDR’s vice president for the first eight years, John Nance Garner, was a Texas segregationist? And a South Carolina segregationist, Jimmy Byrnes, was almost picked as FDR’s running mate in 1944.

Gov. David Treen ® was involved with the Louisiana States Rights Party, and this was used against him later in his career.

Henry Howell, whom Larry Sabato admired, was a leader in the liberalization of the Virginia Democratic Party. He was lieutenant governor and ran at least once for governor. I thought it was strange that he had a substantial following among George Wallace’s supporters (must have been the populism).

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 9:29 am


Good question. I doubt that Gene McCarthy would have run for a third term in 1970 under any circumstances. He once told me that he thought he could be more effective outside the U.S. Senate. McCarthy was a really complex guy — brilliant, wondrously witty, and at times unpredictable.

Having turned down Richard Nixon’s offer to serve as Ambassador to the UN in early 1969, McCarthy angered a number of his antiwar supporters by later giving up his seat on the coveted Senate Foreign Relations Committee to Wyoming’s Gale McGee, a hawk, and by supporting Louisiana conservative Russell Long over Edward M. Kennedy for Majority Whip.

McCarthy laid pretty low after leaving the Senate, only occasionally sallying forth to campaign for various peace candidates or to criticize the two-party establishment. Newsweek magazine facetiously referred to him as “the poltergeist of American politics.”

While keeping the threat of an independent or third-party candidacy alive, especially if the Democrats failed to nominate a peace candidate, McCarthy entered eleven Democratic primaries in 1972, posting his strongest showing in Illinois where he spent $250,000 in an attempt to upset one-time frontrunner Ed Muskie. McCarthy polled 444,260 votes, or approximately 37% against his rival from Maine — not a bad showing, to be sure, but not enough to catapult Gene into serious consideration for his party’s nomination. He also stumped briefly in the Wisconsin and Oregon primaries, but it was too late. By then, George McGovern had galvanized the party’s large antiwar constituency.

Running as an independent in 1976, McCarthy polled the difference between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in four states — Iowa, Maine, Oklahoma and Oregon — that President Ford carried by the narrowest of margins. Unfortunately, McCarthy’s name didn’t appear on the ballot in heavily-populated California and New York that year, two of his potentially strongest states.

The Democrats were so worried about McCarthy’s presence in the 1976 presidential campaign that they quietly dispatched writer Norman Mailer to meet with McCarthy at La Guardia Airport in the campaign’s closing days with an offer of the ambassadorship to the United Nations if the former Minnesota senator agreed to withdraw and endorse the former Georgia governor. McCarthy blew them off, triggering a series of acrimonious attacks on Gene’s under-funded independent effort in the final week of the campaign.

Most folks probably aren’t aware that the 76-year-old McCarthy also sought the Democratic presidential nomination again in 1992, garnering more than 108,000 votes in a handful of primaries. His best showing that year — and you and Peter Gemma will probably enjoy this nugget — was in the Cajun State, where Gene unexpectedly polled 15,129 votes while finishing second to Bill Clinton in no fewer than twenty-eight northern parishes. McCarthy, who never stepped foot in Louisiana that year, later joked that the state’s Democratic voters had confused him with Joe McCarthy.

Michael Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

McCarthy said in an later interview that people in Louisiana may have remembered him because he made a number of campaign stops for the late Hale Boggs for congress. (At 108 posts, I believe this is the longest running thread on BAN.)

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 20th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Peter – Your book sounds fascinating, a much-needed account of southern politics during that tumultuous period.

Like yourself, I’ve always been a little mystified by Thomas H. Werdel’s role in the 1956 presidential campaign. He never particularly struck me as a candidate of the far right, and he certainly didn’t fit the profile of some sort of fire-breathing segregationist.

A former state assemblyman who had served two terms in Congress before losing his seat in 1952 — the same year he had challenged Gov. Earl Warren in the California presidential primary — Werdel had been the subject of a genuine draft that year.

Why the loosely-organized third-party movement headed by Clarence E. Manion, the former dean of the University of Notre Dame’s law school, eventually settled on Werdel remains something of a mystery, especially since the party had no chance whatsoever of qualifying for the California ballot that autumn and Werdel himself was not particularly well-known nationally.

I know that Manion’s group, which included remnants of the Constitution Party, had considered several other vice-presidential possibilities that year, including Utah’s J. Bracken Lee. However, the conservative Utahan, who had been elected governor as a Republican in 1948 and 1952, was immersed in his own uphill campaign that fall — running for a third consecutive term as an independent. He nearly pulled it off, too.

Regardless, the fiscally conservative Werdel was deeply flattered by the vice-presidential nomination and “gladly accepted.” I know that he personally had tremendous respect for T. Coleman Andrews, but I’m not sure if he completely shared the former IRS Commissioner’s view on the confiscatory nature of the federal income tax.

Like Andrews, who was initially hesitant to run and didn’t officially launch his campaign until October 15 — barely three weeks before the election — Werdel wasn’t able to commit much time to the 1956 effort. Of course, Andrews, who was serving as chairman of the board of American Fidelity and Casualty in Richmond, only campaigned on weekends. Likewise, Werdel made only a few campaign trips that fall, spending most of his time attending to his busy law practice in Bakersfield.

Interestingly, while running against Gov. Earl Warren in California’s 1952 GOP presidential primary, Werdel — who personally favored Robert Taft’s nomination — appealed to moderate and conservative Republicans alike. In fact, he campaigned under the slogan, “If You’re for Taft, MacArthur, Eisenhower or Stassen, Vote the Free GOP Ticket with Werdel.” (He polled 521,000 votes, losing to the popular Warren by a two-to-one margin.)

That’s one of the reasons, I suppose, that I never considered him a rabid right-winger. He worked closely with many Republican moderates throughout his career and later served as a California advisor to Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign in 1960.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 7:34 am

Darcy: great backgound on Werdel – I thought he was defeated for re-election … are you saying he ran for Prez in the CA GOP primary than switched to States Rights? It would be interesting to look into rightwing 3rd parties and politicians of ’50s (Trent? Are you still with us?) J. Bracken Lee would be good enough for two volumes.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 7:52 am

Here’s an interesting piece on Virginia political history.

Trent Hill Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 10:16 am

“Trent, you have any background on that election – wasn’t Utah Gov. J. Bracken Lee organizing a Third party party too that year? What happened to his efforts?”

Werdel was pretty far out on the right–he was from Southern California, which, as you know, would later produce firebrands like John G. Schmitz. He served in Congress from 1949-1953, but lost a run for re-election.

Interestingly, Clarence Manion (grandfather of a LewRockwell.com contributor) was national co-chairman of the Andrews-Werdel ticket in ‘56. He was the former dean of Notre Dame’s law school.

As for J. Bracken Lee–he was very much apart of the Andrews-Werdel ordeal. He organized much of the support for the ticket and, I believe, helped to bring many of the Northern Far-right parties under the umbrella of the ticket.

J. Bracken Lee lost the GOP primary that year, and ran as an independent for Governor of Utah–he scored 100,000+ votes.

Trent Hill Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 10:21 am

I should have finished reading the thread before launching into an explanation–Darcy Richardson has clearly beat me to the punch.

“Peter: Interesting that an ex-IRS commissioner would favor abolishing the income tax. Which president appointed him”


I disagree with the characterization of Werdel as a moderate, though. His own votes and views were fairly right-wing, even if his disposition was more moderate.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 10:36 am

Clarence Manion quit an early app’t by Eisenhower as chair of a commission to look at gov’t services/programs to find streamlined and less costly options. Manion said Eisenhower’s people were not going to follow his recommendations. Manion’s youngest son (not grandson), Chris (who writes for Lew Rockwell and other sites), is married to a daughter of John and Mary Schmitz – she briefly worked for me one summer. Of course Manion was a leader and even a spokesman for the John Birch Society in its earliest days.

Markus Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 12:22 pm

First post. I have always been fascinated by the history of third parties, including those on the far right. Mr. Rarick’s death and this thread full of very knowledgable people gives me the opportunity to ask some questions that I’ve had for awhile.

1. I never understood the reasons for split between the AP and the AIP in 1976. I read somewhere that the AIP was more southern-based, and more anti-zionist, while the AP membership was heavily weighted towards John Birch Society members, was not terribly anti-zionist at all, and was focused mainly on anti-communism and small government. Is this accurate? Would it be fair to say that the AIP was more populist, and more attuned to viewpoints of your typical “Spotlight” reader or Liberty Lobby member, whereas the AP was more for the religious person and the John Bircher?

2. It seems as if the AIP was at least trying to be a national party in 1980, given that Rarick was on the ballot in eight states. How was the campaign? Did they have money for an advertising campaign? Did Rarick travel and give speeches?

3. What happened after the election to the party in the other seven states besides California? Did they directly join the Populist Party, or did they just die away?

4. What was Rarick’s take on the Liberty Lobby and other related Willis Carto projects? I know that there was a long, positive profile on him in the Barnes Review a few years ago. To me the most interesting split on the far right is between those who are obsessed with the Jewish Question and/or the Race Question, as they used to be called, and those who are not. It seems as if very religious people and Bircher types HAVE a party that represents them (Constitution) but people oriented towards pro-white and anti-zionist (or anti-Jewish) populism have none. I wondered if the AIP played that role in the seventies.

Thanks in advance for any light that the knowledgable posters here can shed on these matters.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Darcy @ #107 – “McCarthy’s name didn’t appear on the ballot in heavily-populated California and New York that year, two of his potentially strongest states.”

In 1976 California operated under a new law that made it easier for Independent candidates to qualify – Roger MacBride was on the California ballot that year as an Independent.

The McCarthy campaign in California had collected probably enough signatures to qualify. But on the final day, the guys from the Los Angeles office were driving to the Registrar of Voters with 80,000 signatures, and their car broke down and they missed the deadline. Still, McCarthy received something like 56,000 write-in votes, and came in ahead of MacBride.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Thanks, Gene. That’s absolutely fascinating. Incidentally, I’m working on a book called, “The Spirit of ‘76: Eugene McCarthy’s Struggle for Open Politics.” McCarthy often said that his little-known campaign for the presidency that year was in many ways more important than his 1968 antiwar candidacy.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 21st, 2009 at 5:29 pm


Thomas H. Werdel was certainly a conservative. There’s no question about that, but I don’t think he was quite as far right as some might assume.

For example, while easily winning the Republican nomination for Congress in 1948, Werdel came across as more of a mainstream conservative or moderate than some sort of far right fringe character, enabling him to also capture the Democratic nomination by a comfortable margin against the party’s presumptive nominee.

That was quite a feat and probably not something an ultraconservative like John G. Schmitz would have been able to pull off, even in traditionally conservative Orange County.

Incidentally, Dick Nixon also captured both major party nominations in his congressional district that year, but the striking difference between the two men was that Nixon was already a sitting member of Congress, having defeated Jerry Voorhis, a former Socialist and liberal protege of Upton Sinclair, in 1946, while Werdel, an ex-state assemblyman, was waging his first campaign for Congress.

Of course, all of that happened back in the days when California’s cross-filing law allowed for dual — and even multiple — nominations.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 6:47 am

Darcy #107: Gene McCarthy was indeed an interesting fellow. I had to admire anyone who would take off in the midst of a campaign and spend the day reading poetry. It must have been in the 1990s when I saw him and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on C-SPAN testifying on campaign finance, etc., before Congress. McCarthy noted that the government made the rules by which the government was chosen.

McCarthy always had problems with the Kennedys. He said he was a better Catholic and would’ve been a better president than JFK.

I remember seeing a C-SPAN interview McCarthy gave during the 1992 New Hampshire primary campaign. He was sitting just inside the open door of his hotel room, and the interviewer was in the lobby. He also made a speech to the Rainbow Coalition and removed any doubt that he was a redistributionist. He said that 100% of individual income above a certain amount should go to the government, and if it wasn’t given voluntarily, “we should take it from them.”

McCarthy’s Catholicism surely must have been a factor in his ‘92 Louisiana primary showing.

#109: I remember controversy involving Reagan’s nomination of one of the Manions to a federal judgeship. Was he confirmed or not?

Click here for a transcript of a 1956 broadcast by Dean Clarence Manion on Social Security. Quite prescient…

#118: If memory serves, Gov. Earl Warren got both major-party nominations in 1946 or 1950, as did U. S. senator William F. Knowland in 1952. Knowland, of course, was Senate Republican leader, 1953 through 1958. He backed Sen. Barry Goldwater in the 1964 California GOP presidential primary, in which Goldwater defeated Gov. Nelson Rockefeller of NY. Knowland made some out-of-state speeches for Goldwater that fall, including one at a fund-raiser on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

I had thought that Jerry Voorhis was a moderate Democrat. I have a copy of his 1943 book, Out of Debt, Out of Danger, about the fiasco of the Federal Reserve.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 9:44 am

Gene McCarthy also voted against the confirmation of his fellow Minnesotan, Warren Burger, for chief justice.

He was angry at Burger for tactics he used against McCarthy in a U. S. House campaign.

Michael Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 12:58 pm

#115/1–I would agree with you except the AP was also strong in the South. Also, there were very few who were anti-Israel in the AP. 115/2&3–Try the book, “The Other Candidates”, written in 1983 and having interviews with all the candidates for president in 1980, including John Rarick. It was written by the VP for Independent John Anderson in Maine that year. Except for California, I believe the state branches of the AIP faded away. #115/4– I believe Rarick was with the Liberty Lobby and wrote articles for them. (Paragraph) #116–At one point McCarthy was on the ballot in New York State and his name was removed from it by the State Court. It happened so close to Election Day that some voting machines still had his name on them. Also, after the election, judges in Alaska, Idaho, D.C., and I believe Rhode Island ruled he should have been on the ballot in those state. (Paragraph) #117–I’d like to read your book on the 1976 McCarthy campaign when it’s published. #109 & 119–Dan Manion, his son, was named to a federal judge’s post in 1987(?). His father and the John Birch Society were some of the issues. He was confirmed I believe in a 52-48 vote.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 1:23 pm

#121 – Judge Dan Manion is indeed Clarence Manion’s son too. Thanks for the heads-up on “The Other Candidates” book – I’ll try and track it down. Do you know the author?

Rarick was indeed affiliated with Liberty Lobby and flirted with anti-Zionist stuff over the years.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Good stuff, Steve. As an adviser during his 1992 campaign, I remember that McCarthy’s proposal for a capital levy on wealth raised a few eyebrows that year. Moreover, Gene had long advocated a shorter workweek — it was one of his key issues during the ‘76 campaign — and once co-authored a book on the subject with Bill McGaughey of Minneapolis. McGaughey, a friend of the Socialist Party’s Brian Moore, was later an unsuccessful candidate for the Independence Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2002.

Michael Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 2:21 pm

#122–Peter, the book is “The Other Candidates. Third Parties In Presidential Elections”, by Frank Smallwood. (1983) The cover has a great photo of campaign buttons used by the candidates that year.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 2:36 pm

#121 & #122 – I met Dan Manion at the 1973 YAF National Convention. I was running a booth for Books for Libertarians, and he came over with the latest BFL Review and asked for a copy of “God and the State” by Mikhail Bakunin. I am not sure he knew who Bakunin was.

I mentioned this to other people and sold 5 more copies of “God and the State” to YAF delegates.

Steve @ #119 – Jerry Voorhis was a veteran of Upton Sinclair’s socialistic Epic campaign, but in the House he was a solid anti-totalitarian. He wrote the Voorhis Act that prevents American Trotskyites from affiliating with The Fourth International. And he did call for abolition of the Federal Reserve System.

Trent Hill Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Speaking of anti-zionism and such. John G. Schmitz later went on to work with holocaust deniers and such. Odd.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Peter – I’m glad you’re still on this board. Smallwood’s book, as Michael indicated, has some really good interviews with the 1980 independent and third-party presidential candidates, but doesn’t go into nearly enough detail about the AIP-American Party split in 1972-73 and the lingering rivalry between the two parties in the years following. (By the way, I own a copy of Smallwood’s book if you have difficulty finding it.)

I only mention that because I know that you had asked in a previous post about T. Coleman Andrews — Wallace’s choice to head the American Party’s national committee following the ‘68 campaign — and his relationship with Shearer’s rival American Independent Party. It’s a complicated story, one to which I devote about 15-20 pages in a forthcoming book.

In a nutshell, Shearer and other AIP leaders initially viewed the American Party — eventually dominated by Birchers — as Wallace’s personal vehicle, subservient to the Alabama governor’s political wishes and to be kept in abeyance while Wallace explored the greener pastures of the 1972 Democratic primaries.

As early as December 1969, Shearer’s American Independent Party, meeting in Indianapolis, wanted Wallace to make a clean break from the Democratic Party and, while urging him to again be a candidate for the presidency, authorized their own national committee to call a presidential nominating convention for 1972.

Shearer, who was never big on cult of personality, had called Wallace’s bluff. This not only caused tremendous conflict between the two competing national committees, but also between the AIP and Wallace himself.

Shearer proved prophetic.

To make a long story short, T. Coleman Andrews and other American Party leaders eventually came to the same conclusion. “The [American] party is no longer a tool of George Wallace,” declared Andrews shortly after the 1972 presidential election. “Mr. Wallace has gone his way and the party has gone its way.”

Farm magazine publisher Thomas J. Anderson, who headed the American Party’s ticket in 1976, concurred, saying that the American Party had been “too much of a Wallace movement,” a “one-man show” that not only discouraged party building, but criticized anything that drew attention away from the feisty Alabama governor.

By then, of course, the American and American Independent parties, having cooperated in supporting John G. Schmitz’s candidacy that year, were already going their own separate ways, too.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 6:20 pm

fascinating stuff Darcy – you are a warehouse of info. These postings make my head hurt sometimes – trying to recall people/issues/dates.

I think T. Coleman Andrews was out of the loop of the AmParty/AIP long before 1972 wasn’t he? He had hired an exec. director, Ed Hudgens (sp?) and I thought by ‘69-’70 they had split from Shearer and were not Birch enough for Tom Anderson and gang. Both were out of the loop pretty quickly after ‘68 if memory serves.

Michael Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Shearer wrote in a front page letter in his (and the AIP’s) “California Statesman” and asked Wallace in April, 1976, after Carter pretty much had a solid lead for the Democratic nomination to run once again as a third party candidate. It would have given Wallace enough time to get both the AP and the AIP nominations. I believe if he had he could have achieved his 1968 goal of deadlocking the November election since the race between Carter and Ford (with McCarthy tossed in for good measure) was very close.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 22nd, 2009 at 7:33 pm

I think we should formally introduce ourselves – we’ve been trading lots of info but I don’t know anyone on this thread (maybe some of you know each other). In any case, here’s my background:

I used to be a political campaign operative in DC but now write almost full time (in FL) and do consulting for Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty. I’m a columnist with Middle American News, and have written for USA Today, Military History magazine, Human Events, etc. My anthology, “SHOTS FIRED: Sam Francis on America’s Culture War” was published in ‘06 and carried an intro by Pat Buchanan and an afterword by Joe Sobran.

I can’t make up my mind who I am politically: I volunteered in the ‘68 Wallace campaign and headed-up the AIP/Schmitz campaign in my home state in ‘72 (I was a Delegate to the Louisville AIP convention). Then I got active in the GOP and was elected as a Delegate (from VA) to the 1992 Republican National Convention (serving on the platform committee). I was elected as a Delegate to the Reform Party convention in 2000 and then worked for Pat Buchanan. I was elected a Delegate to the 2008 Libertarian Party convention and worked briefly for Bob Barr.

Now I just trade war stories and write, slowly, about politics.

Trent Hill Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 12:18 am

I also write full time, but not the same sort of stuff, Peter. I work for an Internet Reputation Management company. This essentially means that I write about our clients, biographical or business content mostly–although I do get paid to do some political blogging too. I’m a full-time student at Louisiana State University, a senior in History. Im 21, and I’ve been married since I was 19. I have no kids (yet, at least). I got my start in politics with the Constitution Party–but have gradually moved towards a more libertarian viewpoint. My last real action with the Constitution Party was to help nominate Chuck Baldwin over Alan Keyes at the National Convention in ‘08. I worked with some friends to put Ron Paul on the ballot in Louisiana and managed to achieve it. I then registered Republican and have remained that way since. I’m still intensely interested in third party politics, as my posts here show, and I’m the editor and publisher of IndependentPoliticalReport.com, which is probably the most well-known third party politics site on the Internet.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 2:56 am

Trent – I visit your site every day.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 6:19 am

Gene Berkman offers an excellent description of Jerry Voorhis in post #125. Incredibly, during the waning days of the Great Depression — it may have been as late as 1939 or 1940 — Voorhis nearly convinced President Roosevelt to nationalize the Federal Reserve banks, but FDR quickly changed his mind after discussing the proposal with longtime Fed chairman Marriner S. Eccles, a relatively obscure Republican banker from Utah who had been elevated to that powerful position by Roosevelt in 1934.

Nevertheless, the California congressman’s spirited opposition to the Federal Reserve during that economically distressed period attracted the attention of a number of assorted figures on the Right, including Ezra Pound, the widely-acclaimed poet who by this time had clearly drifted into fascism and anti-Semitism.

Like others on the far right, Pound — whose uncanny ability to discover and nurture under-appreciated writers obviously didn’t extend to judging those in the political sphere — mistakenly believed he had found a kindred soul in Voorhis. Pound, who was later charged with treason as a result of his war-time activities in Italy and was eventually institutionalized for a dozen years, had completely misread the California lawmaker. According to most accounts, Voorhis completely ignored Pound’s repeated overtures.

As Gene so succinctly suggested in his post, Voorhis was a liberal Democrat to the core, vehemently opposed to extremism in any form, especially the kind of totalitarianism advocated by the controversial expatriate.

Long after he was out of the political limelight, Voorhis remained a tireless and articulate critic of the Federal Reserve System, arguing as late as 1981 — three years before his death at the age of 83 — that it was “morally, economically, and, in fact, constitutionally wrong to permit any private agency to create the money of a nation” — a right and responsibility, he firmly believed, that belonged exclusively to the national government.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 7:55 am

oh-my-gosh … Darcy, while looking for Smallwood’s book on 3rd parties I just found your series of books on Amazon and ordered two (for now; the rest later) – I had no idea you authored such studies – so glad we bumped into each other here.

See? That’s why I thought introducing ourselves would be good – I would have ordered these books before!

Trent Hill Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 10:07 am


I highly suggest Darcy’s books. They’re meticulously researched, well-written, and they provide plenty of fodder for us third party afficionados.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 10:32 am

Profound thanks for the kind words, Trent.

And thank you, Peter! I just returned the favor and purchased a copy of your Sam Francis anthology through FGF. I look forward to reading it.

By the way, in response to one of your earlier posts — and this certainly isn’t intended as another Excedrin moment — T. Coleman Andrews didn’t step down as state and national chairman of the American Party until the end of 1972.

In fact, he had addressed the Louisville national convention that summer in his capacity as national chair, reading a telegram from Wallace and pleading with the 1,900 or so delegates not to try to draft the Alabama governor, who, of course, was still recuperating from the tragic assassination attempt on his life during the Maryland primary in May.

As I’m sure you’ll recall, a large number of delegates wanted to draft Wallace that year, contrary to his explicit wishes. The draft movement at Freedom Hall that summer almost took on a life of its own, fueled in large part by the manipulative presence of Tom Turnipseed of South Carolina, a former Wallace aide who once promised to make the governor’s wife, Cornelia, “the Jackie Kennedy of the rednecks.” Turnipseed, incidentally, had been fired from the Wallace organization long before the 1972 presidential campaign began in earnest.

In any case, William Shearer and other participants at the convention believed that Turnipseed and his colleague, a vaguely mysterious financier with admitted ties to the Nixon White House, were trying to create a stampede in which the American Party would nominate the ailing Wallace, knowing full well that he would have to decline the nomination and thereby leaving America’s third largest party without a presidential standard-bearer — not unlike the situation in 1916 when Theodore Roosevelt had left the Progressives high and dry.

A number of delegates refused to believe that Wallace wouldn’t run if nominated and some were even convinced that the telegram that Andrews had read during the convention’s opening session wasn’t authentic.

Unable to effectively stymie the draft movement, Andrews and other party leaders then arranged for Wallace himself to address the delegates via a telephone hook-up from his bed in a Birmingham rehabilitation facility. Wallace spoke and tears flowed, but the third-party movement survived.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 10:53 am

Darcy: you’re right … ok, ok, I’m getting old … Turnipseed ran for office several times in SC I believe – almost winning once if memory serves. He’s still active as a liberal/left Democrat.

I do remember that poignant phone call from GW at the AIP confab. I also remember meeting Turnipseed and some of his friends, one of which I believe is a household name today.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Darcy @ #133 – according to “The Campaign of the Century” Ezra Pound endorsed Upton Sinclair and his socialist EPIC movement in the 1934 elections. Pound was also a correspondent of the left-wing Republican Sen. Bronson Cutting of New Mexico – both favored a planned economy to replace the capitalism they blamed for the Depression.

@ #136 – I read in 1972 that financial kook author Dr. Peter Beter was part of the movement to draft Wallace at the 1972 American Party convention. Dr Beter claimed to be very anti-Nixon and wanted the strongest candidate to run against him.

Other reports from the Watergate investigation indicate that Nixon used the IRS investigation of Wallace’s brother to send a message to Wallace that he should decline to run as a third party candidate in 1972. Others have blamed Nixon for the assassination attempt on Wallace (I am just reporting,not verifying).

The upshot was that the mass of southerners who had voted for Wallace in 1968 voted to re-elect Tricky Dick in 1972, with the Schmitz campaign getting little support in the south.

Tom Turnipseed had been a Republican Party staff worker in South Carolina before joining the Wallace campaign in 1967. He has since moved to the left and ended up as more a left-populist than a liberal.

Michael Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I remember the news coverage of the Wallace phone call and the looks on the faces of the delegates as he told them the news. It was very tragic to watch. (Paragraph) Tom Turnipseed ran for South Carolina Att. Gen. in 1998(?) and got 46 percent of the vote as the Democratic nominee. I one point he was trying for one of his campaigns to put together an alliance between the Democrat and Green parties in South Carolina. I don’t know how it worked out.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for the info on Turnipseed. I didn’t realize he was still around and active. I remember that he ran for governor of South Carolina back in the late ’70s, but dropped out of the Democratic primary because of a suspected heart condition.

Michael Says:

September 23rd, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Gene #138–According to an autobiography by CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, Governor Wallace did believe Nixon was somehow behind the assassination attempt on him. Nixon did use the IRS to audit Wallace’s past tax records. It proved to be an disaster on the part of the IRS because it was dicovered they owed him $800!(Paragraph) Darcy #140–I believe Turnipseed has a website for his law office in South Carolina.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 6:28 am

Turnipseed was actually elected once (’80) – he served one term as a state senator (D) before running for Lt. Gov. in ‘82.

#138 – Peter Beter was indeed at the AIP convention, but I think he was a hapless dupe of those who were trying to get the convention to adjourn without a candidate.

Nixon’s IRS audited GW’s brother (Gerald?) who years later was later indicted on some kickback charge, to threaten GW

BTW, George Corley Wallace IV, committed suicide – at age 25 – just a couple of months ago. He lived in FL I believe.

Gene Berkman Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Turnipseed & Associates Law Office maintains a website @ http://www.turnipseed.net/

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I somehow missed Gene Berkman’s excellent post #138 yesterday. Good stuff, Gene. You’re absolutely correct about Ezra Pound being supportive of Upton Sinclair’s 1934 gubernatorial campaign — “perhaps figuring that any setback for the bankers was a victory for fascism,” as Greg Mitchell astutely put it in his excellent and exhaustive study of that campaign.

Having lived in the predominantly Jewish community of Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, for eighteen years, only a few blocks from the home in which Ezra Pound grew up, I’ve always been sort of fascinated by him. (I’ve never personally written anything about him, so you can imagine my surprise in learning recently that one my earlier books was cited in the latest book on the expatriate poet, a volume of selected annotations on Pound’s voluminous correspondence with British activist Olivia Rossetti Agresti, an anarchist-turned-fascist.)

In any case, Mitchell’s book is one of my favorites; I particularly liked the fact that he included the saga of Milen Dempster, the Socialist Party’s hapless contestant in that campaign and his seemingly absurd request in late October that Sinclair return to the fold by withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to the Socialist Party! Sinclair, of course, laughed it off.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Gene @ 138: I remember that George C. Wallace, Jr., the late governor’s son, called for a new investigation into the assassination attempt in December 1992, citing largely unsubstantiated claims that the attempt on his father’s life may have been discussed in the Nixon White House.

In calling for a new investigation, the younger Wallace said that they had long been aware of the fact that in the weeks leading up to the attempt on his father’s life, Arthur Bremer — an unemployed janitor with no visible means of support — had been “staying in some of the finest hotels in the country” while stalking his father.

He also said at the time that he didn’t think Nixon had any personal knowledge of the situation, but wanted to know if anyone else involved in Nixon’s re-election campaign had any prior knowledge of Bremer’s intentions. A spokesman for the ailing ex-governor added at the time that the elder Wallace believed that there had been a government conspiracy to eliminate him from the 1972 presidential race.

Peter @ 142 – Wallace’s ex-wife, Cornelia, who courageously threw herself on top of her husband when Bremer opened fire on that tragic day, also passed away earlier this year. I think she lived in Sebring, Florida, at the time of her death.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Interesting stuff about Dr. Beter from Gene and Peter. Peter’s recollection seems to reinforce William Shearer’s view of Beter’s role at the 1972 convention, namely, that he was an operative of the Nixon White House, or at least claimed to be.

Believe it or not, John G. Schmitz thought this issue was important enough to address at the National Press Club during the heat of the campaign, telling reporters during the third week of October that Nixon’s agents had infiltrated the American Party in an attempt to destroy it. “They were up to drafting a man who said he didn’t want to run so there would be no candidate,” Schmitz said.

Having failed in that attempt, Schmitz also charged during that same press conference that CREEP — Nixon’s appropriately-named campaign organization — tried to hire away several top staff members of the American Party, including Shearer, in an attempt to render the party ineffective.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 4:48 pm

#137 “I also remember meeting Turnipseed and some of his friends, one of which I believe is a household name today.”

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Okay, I’ll bite. Who?

Trent Hill Says:

September 24th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Call me juvenile–but his name was REALLY Peter Beter?

Gene Berkman Says:

September 25th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Trent @ #149 -Who can know? But we wondered the same thing when he came out of nowhere in 1971 with his book on “The Death of the Dollar.”

I got thrown out of a meeting where Peter Beter was speaking. It was sponsored by Sam Andy – a line of survival food, freeze dried in 98% nitrogen packing – and I was passing out copies of None Dare Call It Conspiracy with a leaflet for a competing survival food company folded inside. I respect their right to throw me out – it was my buddy’s idea in the first place to go there.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 25th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

As wacky as he was, Beter — a man who once claimed the all of the gold in Ft. Knox had been whisked away in the middle of the night as part of a scheme by the Rockefellers — somehow managed to wrangle an appointment as counsel to the Export-Import Bank during the Kennedy Administration.

He later ran for governor of West Virginia, polling a pathetic 1,844 votes in the 1968 Republican primary. Hoping to appeal to Wallace’s supporters in November, he later mounted a forlorn write-in campaign for the same office, but received even fewer votes.

During the Watergate investigation, Beter admitted to the Washington Post that former Attorney General John Mitchell and Harry S. Dent, then special counsel to President Nixon, tried to enlist Tom Turnipseed and himself in an effort to block George Wallace’s third-party nomination during a meeting at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in July 1972, only a few weeks before the American Party’s national convention in Louisville.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 6:37 am

#145: “George C. Wallace, Jr., the late governor’s son, called for a new investigation into the assassination…”

Actually, the late governor was George Jr. I remember the governor saying that it was strange that Arthur Bremer was able to travel around the country and stay in hotels. Bremer stalked at least one other presidential candidate, but I can’t remember who.

The governor’s son, George III, has run for numerous offices and is fast becoming the Harold Stassen of Alabama. He had Jesse Jackson in to campaign for him at least once. Most recently, he ran in the 2006 Republican primary for lieutenant governor. The GOP allows people who voted in the Democratic primary to vote in the Republican runoff, and Wallace openly appealed to those voters, but he lost the runoff anyway. If he had won, he would have faced Jim Folsom Jr., the son of another legendary governor and a former governor himself.

George Wallace III has been married some three times and has had at least one messy divorce.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 11:20 am

Steve, You’re right, he is the III. By the way, the younger Wallace nearly won a seat in Congress in 1992, back when he was still a Democrat, losing to self-made millionaire Terry Everett in a race in which the Libertarian Party’s Glynn Reeves and two independents polled the difference between their major-party rivals.

Michael Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

152–It was Ed muskie, then when he faded during the primaries, he changed targets. 152&153–The young Wallace, as I call him, served as State Treasurer as a Democrat, then as Public Safety Commissioner as a Republican. The last is head of the State Police, which in Alabama is an elected office. In addition to the other two races you mentioned he lost he was also defeated in 1994’s primary for state senator. I believe he was defeated by the grandson of the man Governor Wallace defeated for governor in 1962. I’ve read he might run again for his old post of state treasurer. If he wins it might put him in a spot for higher office.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I recall that congressional race. George III also ran for state treasurer… the only office I remember him winning was highway commissioner.

George Jr. was definitely an adroit politician. He first ran for governor in 1958 as a racial moderate with NAACP backing; he lost to John Patterson, a strong segregationist. Wallace vowed, “I’ll never be outsegged again!”

He ran a winning race in 1962 as a rabid segregationist with KKK backing. That was the year that ex-Gov. “Big Jim” Folsom missed the Democratic runoff by some 1000 votes. Drunk on live TV the night before the primary, Folsom clucked like a chicken and forgot the name of one of his children. A Wallace-Folsom runoff would have been interesting, though I suspect Wallace would’ve won; defending segregation was uppermost in voters’ minds, and Folsom was a racial moderate.

Wallace injected race into the 1970 gubernatorial campaign, in which he defeated Albert Brewer, who had become governor on the death of Wallace’s wife, Lurleen. Wallace had moderated again on the race issue when he was re-elected in ‘74; he said his disability had helped him to “see the light.” Such liberals as Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson made pilgrimages to Alabama to bestow their blessings on Wallace, and he was compared to FDR.

In his latter years as governor, Wallace did such things as crowning black homecoming queens. He won his final term in 1982, narrowly beating the incumbent lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

#154: OK… it was public safety commissioner instead of highway commissioner. I had forgotten that George III was elected state treasurer.

You’d think he would try again for lieutenant governor next year, since the incumbent, Jim Folsom Jr., is running for governor.

Do you remember who George Jr.’s opponent was in the 1962 Democratic runoff?

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Yes, Wallace defeated Ryan DeGraffenried — Alabama’s version of JFK — in the 1962 runoff by a little over 71,000 votes. A young state Senator from Tuscaloosa who had starred on the University of Alabama’s football team, DeGraffenried had narrowly finished ahead of folksy Jim Folsom to make the runoff.

Interestingly, DeGraffenried was going to run again in 1966 against the governor’s wife, Lurleen, but was tragically killed on a dark and gusty night in early February of that year when the small Cessna aircraft carrying him to a speaking engagement in nearby Gadsden was caught in gale-force winds and slammed into Lookout Mountain.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 26th, 2009 at 3:24 pm


Thanks for the update on the younger Wallace. I hope to interview him for one of my later volumes.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 27th, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Lurleen Wallace, running as a stand-in for George, won the multi-candidate 1966 Democratic primary without a runoff. Attorney general Richmond Flowers ran, as did ex-Gov. John Patterson. I believe ex-Gov. Folsom also ran.

James Martin, who had nearly defeated longtime Democratic U. S. senator Lister Hill in 1962, was the ‘66 Republican nominee for governor. He foolishly gave up the U. S. House seat to which he had been elected in 1964, as he lost badly to Mrs. Wallace.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 27th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Here are the results of Alabama’s 1966 Democratic gubernatorial primary. I didn’t remember Patterson and Folsom doing so poorly.

Patterson also ran unsuccessfully for chief justice of the state Supreme Court in 1970, and Folsom ran a number of other losing campaigns.

Michael Says:

September 28th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Patterson was later appointed as a judge, and was part of the judges panel which confirmed the removal of Alabama Chief Justice Judge Roy Moore from office over the Ten Commandments monument.

Steve Rankin Says:

September 28th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Ironically, John Patterson turned age 88 yesterday. It must be really embarrassing for a former governor to run again and only get 3.5% of the vote (and Folsom got even less in 1966).

Patterson lost for chief justice in 1970, 66% to 34%, to Howell Heflin, the future US senator. Rush Limbaugh used to do a great impression of Heflin.

Trent Hill Says:

September 28th, 2009 at 11:07 pm


How two former governors could run for Governor and score less than 6%, is beyond me.

Peter Gemma Says:

September 29th, 2009 at 6:33 am

sorry I’ve been off this thread for awhile – traveling a lot, and when I logged-on using the hotel’s computer, John Rarick’s name triggers “Nazi – forbidden!” on the hotel’s computer censor system. Geez, good thing I didn’t look up smoking, drinking, or Bill Clinton’s girlfriends. grrrr. I’m at a library now.

There was a plan to house George Wallace’s political papers – including his/his wife’s campaign memoribilia – in a special museum but the fund raising didn’t go anywhere for some reason. I think the state backed down from an initial offer of seed money or a building or something – for financial not political reasons. I also believe I read somewhere that all the materials are sitting in a wharehouse … not a safe place for paper.

Darcy – I plan to interview Wallace III at some point too … is it a race to get there first or shall we go together?

Michael Says:

September 29th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Peter #164–I sent a letter to the secretary of state’s office in Alabama and got a letter from Gov. Bob Riley. I don’t know how it got routed that way. Anyway, Governor Riley said Governor Wallace’s papers, records, photos, campaign documents, ect., are located at the Alabama State Archives. I’ve checked their website and there is a huge amount of material on Governor Wallace located there.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 29th, 2009 at 3:30 pm


By all means, if possible let’s try to interview Wallace together. We’re both living in Florida, so I imagine it could be a really fun road trip.

By the way, I started reading “Shots Fired” this past weekend and really enjoyed “Gemma’s Dilemma” — your beautifully-written and insightful introduction, as well as Pat Buchanan’s moving foreword to the book.

I’m just now making my way through your subject’s selected writings and speeches and particularly enjoyed his delightfully contrarian view of Abraham Lincoln as a typical “small-town politico” whose highly-touted prominence as a lawyer in an underdeveloped frontier state like Illinois in the 1850s was akin to describing him as “an admiral in the Swiss navy.”

At first blush, I have to admit that I enjoy Sam’s off-angle way of looking at things.

Darcy G Richardson Says:

September 29th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Thanks for that info, Michael. Gov. Wallace had taken a $30,000 tax deduction on his 1968 personal income tax return — or ten cents a page — for some 300,000 pages of documents related to his 1968 presidential campaign that he had turned over to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, which, incidentally, is also in possession of his official papers as governor.

According to newspaper reports published in the early 1970s, the material turned over to the state archives shortly after the ‘68 campaign unfortunately didn’t include any of the legal papers and other documents stemming from Wallace’s Herculean ballot access efforts that year.

In any case, I think what Peter Gemma was referring to in comment #164 — and Peter please correct me if I’m wrong — are the additional personal papers and memorabilia, stuffed in wooden boxes, that the Wallace family wanted to donate to the state archives shortly after Wallace’s death in 1998. Due to lack of funding, they are now sitting in a warehouse in Atlanta, or at least were as of a few years ago. Those papers and artifacts — a treasure trove equivalent to three tractor-trailer truckloads of material — apparently have never been catalogued for researchers and historians.

For years, there was also a large volume of uncatalogued papers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham library — papers that had been originally donated to the Alabama State Department of Archives and History, but later reclaimed by Gov. Wallace and placed under the control of the Wallace Foundation.

When writing his excellent 1994 biography of Wallace, Stephen Lesher said that he was given access to “thousands of campaign papers, boxes, and artifacts that were piled willy-nilly, uncatalogued, on a balcony in the library…” I’m not sure if those papers are still at UAB or are part of the voluminous material still sitting in the warehouse in Atlanta.

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