[Excerpted from Hot Stove #185, posted on February 17, 2022.]
Charlie Hart – Political Insider: Charles Curry first won office as presiding judge in 1962 and was reelected in 1966. Curry was building a political organization, the Committee for County Progress (the CCP, occasionally referred to as Charles Curry’s Party). Charlie Hart became active in the CCP and helped Curry and his team win big in 1966, including victories for Alex Petrovic and Charlie Wheeler who joined Curry on the 3-judge county court. Below, Curry (middle) celebrating those victories with Alex Petrovic (left) and Charlie Wheeler. Continue reading
I had a good Wednesday. Inauguration Day for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Got my first vaccine shot. Very optimistic about a return to normal.
I could stick to baseball. Or movies. Or music. But not right now.
I am going to talk about current events, but will set the stage with a Jackie Robinson story. In April and May of 1963, Martin Luther King was in Birmingham for civil rights demonstrations. Jackie Robinson was at home in New York and raising money to send to King to help finance the effort. After Robinson watched scenes of police brutality against non-violent protestors, he decided to go to Birmingham to visibly support King. Below, Robinson with King at the church rally where they spoke. Continue reading
[This is Part One of a three-part series on the (i) parallel political tracks of Walter Mondale and Tom Eagleton, and (ii) my good fortune to work on their campaigns.]
In the fall of 1960, I was in my sophomore year at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla. That November, Tom Eagleton and Walter Mondale each won his first statewide election. At the time, I doubt I noticed their victories. But I would come to appreciate these two fine public servants and have the honor of working with both of them. Here’s the story. Continue reading
As Part One ended, I was joining the Mondale advance staff…
Mondale Campaign Advance: With some remarkable efficiency, a large advance staff was assembled. Some were full-time and paid, but many were like me, part-time volunteers. We started getting paperwork to get up to speed. I saw that the roster included some fellow Kansas Citians – Mike Kelley, Dale Leibach and Russ Welsh. Mike Kelley was not new to a VP race. Mike was Tom Eagleton’s press secretary for seven years, including being in the middle of the chaotic 18-day VP run with McGovern in 1972 (Gene Godley had also been at Eagleton’s side during those 18 days). I had not previously known Dale Leibach, but soon met him when we joined lead advance Debbie Sale on one of my early assignments (Davenport, Iowa). I knew Russ Welsh, and we would end up at the same law firm a few years later – I joined Polsinelli in 1979 and Russ came in 1986.
The midterms are coming! The midterms are coming!
Plus Helsinki, Paris, Lagos and pics of Rita.
July, 1978 – Topeka: Mondale’s visit to Topeka was both official (dedication of a power plant) and political (a fundraiser for Dr. Bill Roy). Roy was a former Congressman who gave up his seat in 1974 to run against Senator Bob Dole. He lost to Dole and was back to try again, this time against Nancy Kassebaum. Roy lost again.
This week’s mayoral election revived some memories that took me back to 1979 – five years before Quinton Lucas was born.
Charles Curry. Alex Petrovic. Charlie Wheeler. Three men – county administrative judges – who were instrumental in saving both major league baseball and pro football in Kansas City. The year was 1967. It was the 13th season for the A’s in Kansas City – it would also be their last. The Chiefs had moved from Dallas in 1963, but playing in a retrofitted baseball stadium was not going to work in the long run. These three men held the key.
Part 2 of this trilogy took us through 1968, the election of Tom Eagleton to his first term in the Senate. He quickly became a rising star in the Democratic Party, leading to…
1972 – McGovern and Baseball Commissioner: At the Democratic Convention in July of 1972, George McGovern picked Tom Eagleton to be his running mate. That did not go well, but it produced a couple of baseball stories that Tom liked to tell.
In the last Hot Stove, I began what has turned into a trilogy. The starting point was my first year in politics, 1968, when I met two “Washington Senators” from Missouri, Stuart Symington and Tom Eagleton. At that time, Symington was serving in his third term in the Senate and Eagleton was running for his first. In the last post, you read about Stuart Symington’s aid to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals. This post (and the next one) will focus on Tom Eagleton’s baseball passion.