Title: Harold Stayman
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Fla Rep 5AB

Subject: Harold Stayman D. Soles
Interviewer: P. Klingman
Date: 5-22-75
Place: Palm Beach, Fla.

S: Machines.... 15"Ve 0 Lo 6 4
K: Right. I think we can use both machines and See what we get.

We'll get one between the two of us, no matter what happens, and...see how it goes.


S: I might have to stop for a call...they're a couple that may come through, otherwise

we'll be sail, sail through.

K: No problem. Why don't we just go ahead and review right back from the beginning

certain things, and start right from your earliest work as a Republican. ...So

when and why did you become a Republican?

S: When Barry Goldwater...was running for the presidency, of course, I had been a

registered Democrat in Dade County, but...my mother is very active in the Republi-

can party in Pennsylvania and always had a tendency to vote Republican in the major

elections. Of course in the, in the local elections there wasn't really a party

down there in those days, that was 1964, '63-'64. In any event, Barry Goldwater...

made a good deal of sense to me and I just decided to become as active as I could

in support of his candidacy. So, I volunteered to work in the precincts for him

and learned that...in order to get started...I, I should...visit with some of the

people who were in the Republican, young Republican leadership in Dade County. It

turned out there was a meeting that week and I went down and attended it, and... met

iob rpse5 J i who was president and a real active fellow, dynamic type

person, and many other people. The young Republicans in Dade County at that time
a bit
were older than the, than the young Republicans in most areas of the country, but

they used this vehicle...since they were able to operate this club the way they

wanted to and most of them were the leaders of the, of the Goldwater campaign in

Dade County....I guess after my first meeting, of course, I joined and...became

immediately the founding editor of a little newsletter that we had for the club,

and worked for Goldwater in the precincts. ...I couldn't change my registration

until after the election, but the day that it was possible to do so I was there

to change it, and I've been a...Republican ever since that time.

K: Okay. In your work in the precincts, in the '64 Goldwater campaign, how success-

ful was the problem of trying to campaign for Barry Goldwater in Dade County?

S: Well, of course, Barry Goldwater lost the county significantly. There was an awful

lot of fear...about the man among the...senior citizens, and the minority groups

were really...oh gosh, there were some precincts where the vote count was something

like 740 to three, it was that, it was that extreme in, in some of the black areas

in...South Beach, tremendous...black voting against Goldwater. We had the feeling

that...he, he had a chance to win, though, certainly e It he

should carry Florida,...we were surprised that he didn't and that of course gave

us our, our real interest in this party because...we tOenght that...the reason that

Barry Goldwater did not carry this state was not because of a philosophy, a differ-

ence in philosophy, rather because of a lack organization, and...that's...

what, what it really turned out to be. So we felt that...what he was saying made

a lot of sense to people in this state. As a matter of fact, if he was running

today, I don't think there'd be any question about him carrying this state.

K: Um, hum.

S: ...When we look at what George Wallace has done without...the real stature and, and

...and...depth of...of Goldwater....

K: Let me ask you a, a question. At the same time that...Goldwater was running for

president, of course, orle U-iu was campaigning for governor, and Claude Kirk

was campaigning for senator against Spessard Holland. Did you...engage in any of

this activity?

S: No, we...we were in...we, we met the other candidates at one of the Young Republican

conventions where they were all our guests and iU\\l was there and Kirk

was there. Kirk made a big impression on the Young Republicans because he's...very

affable and...a great speaker. Ho l was, was pleasant enough, but

rather bland, by comparison with Kirk, and Kirk appeared at our meeting at Key

Biscayne with...his wife. Fir is- Mrs. Kirk is a charming woman...great

pretty, very attractive and vivacious lady. We liked Kirk a whole lot, and we

didn't really have a great dislike for Holland. Philosophically, Holland was never

\*** bOod 4 O6 '# 6S~if T6M ch~Oy'ir h r'A that I can see. And there

really wasn't CQH\ interest in the governor's race.

K: Ur, hum.

S: ...We were really caught up in national politics, and it was Goldwater you know....

K: So there really wasn't a slate campaigning going on in '64 in this, for the, from

the Republican point of view, at least, in Dade County.

S: No, not in Dade or, or from what I can see, throughout the state...

K: A MiJ\re 'AS-k<4-

S: The organized political groups, the Young Republicans the k) _O*'~_ _A_ '

Republicans, obviously supported the ticket, but...the workers, the volunteers,

the people with the pins and working...you know on the bumper stickers, and all

that, were people \d\ \ ~ Goldwater all the way.

K: Okay, let's get down to this impact of Goldwater's defeat on the state Republican

party, because this seems to be the place where the impetus lies. There's this

feeling coming out of the, the defeat of Barry Goldwater in the state, that he

shouldn't have lost, that there were reasons that he lost, and I'd like to see if

we could nail that down to some specifics, if we could, in '64.

S: Well, we...we were very disappointed with the results of the election, and...we had

a Young Republican meeting a week or so after the election, and keep in mind that

we're minority, minority, minority party and...had no offices whatsoever in Dade

then, or hardly ever since. So....-

K: This Young Republican meeting a week after was at Dade County?

S: Dade County, Dade County meeting. And it was, it was really a strange thing because

...we expected a crowd of about forty to sixty, which is our usual range, and nearly

200 people were there, a huge number, far, far beyond the, the space and of all ages.

And everybody came out and they came up to the Young Republican meeting because the,

the senior people were disgruntled and disillusioned, and they felt that...the youth

had...the enthusiasm, had the drive, and we had one excellent meeting that evening.

We Sr o, talked about, we realized what our problems were. We decided that we had

to stay involved. We decided that we really needed to, to become involved in the

position of leadership in the party. That it was impossible to...to, to accomplish

very much without having the titles, and having the positions. And so, from this

club, we spawned...a lot of political careers.

K: Okay. It seems to me that two weaknesses in the party structure that you probably

would've been directed against. One would've been with the regular state party

Chairman \ nPj0 AI1oincW-0 aA.AtTor FCi-; rCld I Cr that power structure at that

point in time, and secondly, weaknesses in the Young Republican state organization

itself, the Federation of Young Republican QJ6 Can you amplify either one

or both of those?

S: Yes, the...the senior party...was almost a joke because...one faction had control,

complete control of the party for sixteen or eighteen years, and...the, the current

leadership, at that point, I think they had been in power three years or so and they

hadn't had a meeting in all that time, not one meeting. No voting, yes, no, or

anything, just never got together which was something of a puzzle to us. As far as

the Young Republicans were concerned, we had a variety of clubs and philosophies in

the state. There were some clubs that were play clubs, and they were some clubs

that were working clubs, like the one in Dade that I mentioned to you. It was

probably the finest political organization I've ever been associated with on any


K: Where else were you strong in the state, the Young Republicans?

S: Central Florida, and Orlando. We had a good club on the west coast, a good club in...

K: Pinellas County?

S: Yes. Jacksonville had a large club, but as I say, it was more of a play club, but

nevertheless, we had, we were very serious in our own organization. We had...

active campaigning for these party offices, the state chairmanship, and so forth.

We decided that...the first thing we had to do was to get the...get control of the

leadership of the Young Republicans so that we could be, you know, pursue our goals

in a very serious manner. It would give us...credibility, it would give us a plat-

form from which to speak, it would give us a platform from which to build. So we

decided that we would have a candidate for the state chairmanship of the Young

Republicans, and make that step. We felt that...we would try and assist the Florida

Federation of Republican Women a little bit, as much as we could, so that they

could bring about the change. And I want to point out, that people that had these,

pardon me, positions of leadership in theseS, in the federation and party, were not

villians by any means, they were people who were good people. They were people who

were tired they were people who had been there for many, many years beyond their

prime and, and they...stayed on because they had a different philosophy. Their

philosophy was that they'd like to be big fish in a very small pond. We weren't so

concerned about what our size would be, but rather that the pond would increase so

we could build, you know, and elect somebody.

K: Even without a Republican party history, like I'm working on, it should've been

perfectly clear to you and the people back in 1964, that you were associating with...

this kind of enthusiasm, for lack of a better word, a grass roots movement. That

you wanted to rebuild a party in ih1'c eF-ose- There'd been something

which had been happening for a long time, there had always been periodically a drive

to reproduce. What made you think in '64 you could be successful?

S: Well, we had a...we had a great team in Dade County, a very unique team. As I was

saying, it's...it was the most outstanding group of people I've ever met. We'd have

a board meeting in that little club...once a month, and we'd sit around in a living

room or at a meeting room and, and come up with great ideas and we, we just didn't

know what it was not to succeed in them...internally. ...Sponsored a lecture with

John Stormer...who authored None Dare Call it Treason in Dade County. It was

a big success, and as we started to evolve ourselves in the mechanisms of parties,

we never lost anything. And so, it just added to our, to our confidence. We felt

that...that we needed to create a, a statewide organization, meanwhile, before the

election of the state chairman of the Young Republicans, and we formed a Young Re-

publican trust fund. That was the first formal organization.

K: Okay. Just to make sure, for the record, that we, we have gone dates in order, the

Florida Young Republicans meeting that you would've been working towards, the feder-

ation meeting for the Young Republican's Trust Club, would've been in May of 1965,

because the national convention was a month later in June, '65.

S: That's correct.

K: So when you formed this Young Republican's Trust Club...

S: Trust Fund.

K: ...Trust Fund, excuse me, the Young Republican's Trust Fund, and that is important

we get it correct, who was there?

S: Well, of course, that was formed before I was there even, and...Bill Dover, and Lou

Fry...I think Bill James was involved in that, Bill Shields from Fort Myers...Sue

Golden from Miami, i-D-ie#i-s, Robert Lyle from Miami, ....

K: About ten people.

S: Yes, uh, huh. About ten people. And...the organization, this, this was just a

paper thing. Everybody, there was no money, everybody paid their own expenses to

anything they ever went to. They used to meet about once a month or so up in...

Bartow, that was a convenient spot, and the trust fund was formed, and these people

felt that something had to be done, and the point was that they raise some money,

you know, to, to...to perhaps hire a field man or two.

K: This meeting in Bartow, which I believe you mentioned one time)was in a restaurant,

S: Yes, John's Restaurant.

K: John's Restaurant in Bartow. This implies to me, because of the location, that this

still was then being centered in central and south Florida. That you weren't

bringing into this trust fund people, at this point in time, or they weren't bring-

ing into the; trust fund, at this point in time, people from north Florida, the


S: No, we just, we weren't as...

K: 'SO it's a long drive.

S: Yeah, we weren't as acquainted with them. We didn't know of their zeal for this,

you know, we figured that there were some people out there that agreed with us. I

forgot to mention Fred Hagan, he, Representative Hagan was a member of this also, an

active charter member of the trust fund. ...We selected Bartow so t would be con-

venient for, you know, sort of...a halfway spot. But...the real..., the real power

of the organization came from south Florida, which was unusual, since there...

really not much...elected... You'd think it would come from Pinellas where they...

K: Exactly.

S: ...all the victories were, but...it didn't.

K: Exactly.

S: It didn't come...I don't remember whether we had anybody from Pinellas, off hand,

I don't think we did.

K: Not that I know.

S: There was a certain rivalry that developed between...Pinellas County and Dade County,

...which we'll probably get into as we go along, but...we, this was in, in the, late

in '64 and early in '65, so we, we were looking to hosting a...a major convention,

the National Federation of Young Republicans were going to meet in the Deauville, and

we had to work toward that. We had assignments on that which kept us going, kept the

organization active with this specific goal, and then we were concerned, as you said,
about the main election. ...We met and discussed that in great detail. We were

looking for a candidate. I think the thing that was so good about the, the trust

fund concept and our whole approach with the Young Republican cause was that we were

very flexible when it came to...who would be the candidate. It wasn't one person,

saying, "I want to be chairman We sat together and discussed it all to

determine who would be the best, who'd be part of the best slate we could elect, you

know. So...we first, first thought was that. ...Our candidate was David Wells.

Turned out to be David Wells from Jacksonville. ...He was not a member of the trust

fund. I think it's important to remember that, because it does come up again.

K: Um, hum.

S: ...The trust fund'said this, that...the peopleH1iL,~ -_compose the trust fund would

support David Wells' candidacy, and after he would, he would be elected, our thought

was that...the trust fund would try to raise money to help support, financially,

the Young Republicans, so that he could have a field man, which we've never had

before. So that was the long-range thing.

K: At this point in time, excuse me for Ij fdTrr i .

s: P-___5

K: At this point in time, are you thinking in long range, you, either you personally,

or the trust fund thinking in long-range terms about what eventually transpires

in terms of the party as a whole?

S: Yes, we felt that the, the first step would be the...the Young Republican Federation.

And the second step would be the senior party.

K: So we are talking, to use Mr. Nixon's phrase, we are talking about a long-range game


S: Well, yeah. ...We were talking about that and we...and to go one step further, the

next step was to elect a Republican governor in 1970.

K: Um, hum. We'll, we'll talk about that as we go along.

S; Yes.

K Okay, Wells...is the candidate at the Florida Federation of Young Republicans, and...

becomes the chairman at the May meeting. And then, the following month, in June at

the Deauville Hotel, in 1965, the National Young Republicans Meeting occurs. Now,

two things interest me about the meeting. One takes place with an-issue in;the

meeting that you or somebody had, and I'd like some more specifics on this, with

Mrs. Maytag, and the other thing is the meeting itself. Perhaps maybe we should

talk about that to begin with, the rest....

S: Let's go back one step, because this, this Young Republican State Convention was

something else, but it should be pointed out that the opposition to David Wells was

Lou Fry.

K: Okay.

S: And...we had a slate of candidates that were elected when David was. We, we won

every, every seat, and defeated Lou. And Lou had been a...I mean is a very dear

friend of ours and...there were many of our, you know, we played with this many

times after that, whether we made, if we would be better off if we hadn't had Lou

as our chairman. I just wanted to put that in the record because we became very

close friends, much closer, much closer friends than we ever were with...with

David Wells, for instance.

K: But, Lou Fry was also a member of this trust fund.

S: Yes. That's the thing that....

K: So, somewhere in there, the trust fund issue of David Wells, somehow there's a

split that occurs beean FL ~
S: I, I'm just, I'm trying to recall, maybe Lou and Fred came on the trust fund a

little later. I'm not sure about that. I'm really not clear on this. But I,

I thought certainly that they were involved in the early stages. It could well

have been after, after his defeat. Lou gained a great deal of stature with this

defeat. He was kind of...used to winning everything, and it kind of taught him a

lesson in humility. And...he never lost anything after that. He never lost another

election after that particular one, because we became great allies and....

But coming down to the convention itself, we were at the national convention in, in

at the Deauville. It was a very successful meeting. We raised a good bit of money

for them here. We had a lot of workers. It was a exciting thing. Our candidates

for all the national offices, people of Dade County, I mean Florida supported, won)

o0 H ______ were elected. It was during this time that we did visit in, in, in
detail with Mrs. Maytag.

K: Before we talk about Mrs. Maytag...

S: Yeah. OKO,

K: ...was there, and this is purely a question for perspective, was there a discussion

between Florida Young Republicans and other...southern Young Republicans about...

the impact of Goldwater and..., I guess what I'm asking you is were there other

like movements, elsewhere going on?

S: There were. There were.

K: For the same kinds of reasons?

S: Yes, in Tennessee, and..., and...in, in...Carolinas. ...You must note that the

prevailing philosophy, the winning philosophy, among young Republicans for the

conservative cause, year after year after year they had bi-annual conventions

and it's...this conservaqJve group was known as the syndicate, and the...the...

liberal faction from Pennsylvania and New York, and sometimes California. They

were known as the gang-buster faction, but they, they vote and they'd never win,

they wouldn't win the elections, the, this conservative group T-H ConTro \( d .

So \ ,-- '." r. 'i, ,r,-" .* talk about it, but it was the, the Young Repu-

blican Organization was far more conservative than this sp p.n)_ ~ party nation-


K: Now, somewhere in the process of this meeting in June of 1965, you and some other

people went to see Mrs. Maytag.

S: Right. But Bob Creselius, it was a very simple thing. Bbb Creselius and...myself,

we were up night and day for days and days there at the convention, but we did

plan to see Marquita, and Marquita was...a great friend of ours. She was, she

supported the club and I sold her husband the outside back cover of the...of the

program book for $3,000 which was the biggest money we raised at the convention.

She was a good friend. Not, we weren't as close to her then as we became, but

nevertheless we, she was a, bee.me a great supporter of ours. So we took out time

to visit with her for lunch one day at the Robin-Hood:Inn, during, right in the

heart of this convention, and we had...two or three martinis_ I. l CL 00,.
aon- oo c Qoco o0-f *+he worit{is toerc or-
Crse .,TiuS prf d \ s 'm I doesn't drink very much. But, we

told her all about it, how it was going. She was very much interested, not only

in the state picture but nationally. She's very active in politics. And she had

some money that she was thinking about investing...in support of the Republican

party, because she was terribly dismayed, you know, with what had happened, and

she's a strong/onservative. So, we talked with her about this trust fund concept,

and she...it was at this luncheon that she more or less, made a commitment to us

that she would give us $25,000.

K: Was she unhappy with... CY. P:i crl,! 0 r\':. F 0 Fcir,,j0 Fr 0!%1. 'i

S: Oh, tremendously. Oh, yes, unhappy would be a great understatement.

K: Personally unhappy?

S: Oh, yes.

K: Was there a personality conflict?

S: Oh, yes, yes. They had a row over the delegations at the Senior Party...Conven-

tions before, in...in the past, and...Marquita's a brilliant woman, and she's,

loses patience, you know, with dull, you know, common folk, and...this party's

bep- lackluster. And she was, pardon me, she was very concerned about that.

K: So when you made out your plans over lunch at the Robin Hood Inn, you included

all the way to whic you saw would be the future steps. po''d Take.- o\i1r-

*if the senior party, and so on.

S: __That's it. We felt that we had the way to do it, that we, we could

do it. We could take over the party, and..._ we didn't know with whom.

Keep in mind there was no candidate. No candidate, we just thought we, we could

put somebody in that was fresh and imaginative. We were looking for certain

qualities in a person, and...we knew what they were, but the main thing was, how
do we do it, you know. we felt that with...that seed money we could get the job

done, or go a long way toward getting it done. It was not an easy task. It was

you know, -i, Ak+ t o 4- k\

K: You also discussed with Mrs. Maytag in this meeting an Cnti t .

S; Yes. That was going to be a, be a, the chief source of our fund raising. Other

southern states, particularly Alabama, and incidentally, Alabama was one of the

states I should've mentioned where the Young Republicans took over the party also,

under John Grenier's leadership. ...One of the first things we did was go up: to

Alabama and spend some time with him, learn a little bit about what they did because

they elected five congressmen, Republican congressmen, in 1964 where everything else

was in shambles. So, the idea was that the trust fund would publish an almanac

which would be a governmental guide and it would be...it would include perhaps

a hundred or so pages of advertising at a thousand dollars a page, which is tax

deductible item for business and would allow us to net seventy, seventy-five

thousand dollars. That would be money that we would use to fund the party. We're

talking now in terms of 1965 dollars difference. So, that was being done in other

states. It was being done in Alabama, it was done in other, other southern states.
Z-f A great opportunity for the GOP to raise money in states where they never raised

any before. It turned out that...the tax advantages of that project soon disappeared,

and it made...it ruined the project. We couldn't do it. My particular role was to

become...exectuve director of the, of the Young Republican Trust Fund, and...to, to

do this almanac project.

K: Why were you available to do this?

S: Well, I wasn't available. I was working for the Southern Bell Telephone Company, bit

I like politics very much, and...I really was caught up in this Goldwater thing.

It was a crusade with us. And I guess, I really found myself in politics. I was,

you know, drifting along with the telephone company, not setting any records, and I

found...a position of leadership with the party. I started from standing still and

became, became known nationally, and became an official of the, of the Young Repub-

licans, and had an opportunity to visit other clubs, and to motivate people, and I

was really caught p with it. And I figured, if I could get enough to make the

mortgage payment and pay on the car, and just, just, and really it was an unselfish

thing. And...for both of us. The two people who gave up their careers to start

out in this. It was a very unselfish thing for both of us, because we, we surely

didn't get rich at all. We started with just a minimum amount of money, but that's

what it took to get the job done, you know. And, it was a hell of a job because we

went traveling all the time, and it just about ruined the personal life. But, but...

no, I felt that we could get the, that was part of the deal. And Marquita and I

are now very dear friends and, and she had confidence in me and, ...that was part

of the deal. She wanted me to do it. You know, if you go and talk, you have to

put your money where your mouth is. It's if you do it, we'll do it. And, and of

course getting Chuck le____ was a great coup also, because he had another type

of personality and, and great credibility.

K: Let's explore this. You become executive director of the trust fund.

S: Yes.

K: And your responsibilities were to start organizing Young Republican Clubs in the

thirty-seven counties of south Florida.

S: About thirty-three, thirty-four. Yes Ctt'tS yes.
7 1-
K: And, Mr-\iAru-S responsibilities were the top part of the state,

S: Yes.

K: Panhandle.

S: Yes.

K: But he was not being paid out of trust fund money.

S: Yes he was.

K: He was being paid with trust fund money.

S: We paid the money to the party. The state chairman, David Wells, submitted vouchers

and statements thae the trust fund paid him. Paid rent, and paid...Chuck's salary.

K: And your salary.

S: And paid my salary and my expenses.

K: All out of this $25,000q|Lars

S: Oh yes, sure. Our salaries were set at, I think Chuck was $8,000 and mine was

$9,000. So that's $17,000, and we...traveled in a very frugal manner. We stayed

at people's homes, we...gosh, you know, it's just a, and it wasn't a year that

we had to work, less than a year.

K: Did he have a title?

S: He was called executive secretary of the Florida Federation of Young Republicans.

K: And you were the executive director of the Young Republicans Trust Fund.

S: Trust Fund, yes.

K: Okay. Now this is a secret organizational plan going on, in terms of what yau

-foro d Alexander and Tom Brown in the senior party WOU d 0o knovl ,.

There was no knowledge, or was there knowledge?

S: No. There wasn't any real fear. Tom Brown had a lot of fear anyway. He's a very

suspicious person. He had good reason to. Everybody and his brother was after him.

...I happened to be in a crazy situation with this man. I, I visited him. I knew

what my purpose was. I like him, I like him to this day. In fact, he drew my will

a couple of, a couple of months ago, and he... He's a, I understand him, you

know, and I have affection for him, and I had lunch with him the day before we beat

him. You know, and I had lunch with him afterwards. So, I mean, I've kept...

friendship with the man. He's, he's just a victim of circumstance. If we had had

Tom Brown, if we were involved with Tom Brown, four years earlier, we could've made

a success of Tom Brown, because we would've surrounded him with people willing to

work, and we would've raised the money. It doesn't matter so much who's sitting

in that chair, I mean in my opinion. It's a matter of having somebody that's

willing to develop a team and, and then who presides at the meeting makes no dif-

ference to me, you know. I don't think he was as villainous as a lot of other

people, there was some people that just hate him, and hate Alexander. I, I do not.
I do.not feel that way about it. I never did feel that way about it. I felt that

the party was in...poor condition. I did not think that G. arcx i l Alexander

was a crook. I certainly didn't think that Tom Brown was, was dishonest at all.

I think he was inept as a state chairman, and he was. But, I don't think he's a

would 've
K: Can you describe forne, youstarted with this executive directorship, reorganization

of the Young Republicans of south Florida sometime beginning, I suppose, when,

October, did you start it? Or December, I should say? Somewheres in there? If you

met in June, ka'Y jk \

S: Oh, when did we get started with it?

K: Yes.

S: I think it was around September or October, yes.

K: September or October.

S: Yes, yes.

K: You would've started in.:..1965, this organization. Can you describe for me what you


S: Yes...we divided the state as I, as I said. And the first thing we did was...first

major expenditure, we bought a couple of tape recorders. And we went...when we

went into our respective counties...we would visit with the state committee man and

state committee woman in the areas.

K: And you operated out of Dade County?

S: I, I operated out of Dade County.
a new
K: You didn't move or establish A residence some place else ?

S: No, I didn't have an office. Chuck's office was in Gainesville. We put, the Young

Republican Federation put an office up there, and...we didn't have an office. I

reported directly to Bill Shields, who was the chairman of the trust fund, and to

...Bill Goldberg, who was the, you know, really one of the top men in all of this.

So I would, my method of operation would be to go to a' county, before I did anything

at all, and visit with the state committee man, state committee woman, introduce

myself, tell them what we're trying to do, and that was build new Republican clubs.

I sat with them on their front porch, I ate with. them in their kitchen, I, you know,

visited with them in their car. I learned an awful lot about the make-up of that

state committee and the southern part of the state. If we found someone who was
rolely or
identified...yQai-4nae entirely with the machine, or wasn't flexible in their think-

ing, or, you know, really was, had other motives...we made notationsqf this. And,

we felt that...it would be necessary, maybe, to bring in new leadership. You under-

stand that the state committee's composed of a man and woman from each county in the

state. And in some counties we had six Republicans and some counties we had

60,000 Republicans, Each county has the same vote, two votes, a man and a woman.

We also visited with the county chairman. It took, was a time consuming thing, but

we prepared a little card on each person that we met. It had, you know, the high

points of their personality, their age, and everything else. They were very, very

senior people. Some of them were in their eighties, eighties. Most of them were

very outstanding, I mean, very dedicated, let's say.

End of Side 1, Tape 1

K: I don't want to make a conspiracy where one doesn't exist. But, in your traveling

around in these various counties, talking to these people, making value judgements

as to whether they were supporters of the old style of Brown and Alexander, or

whether they would be amenable to the kind of changes you were talking about, you...

were you still operating in secret, or were you telling these people what you had

in mind, specifically that the...?

S: Ah, it was a conspiracy. No question about it. It was a, it was a, had a definite


K: Then I shall quote you.

S: Yeah, there's no question about about it. And...we weren't in it for fun and games.

You weren't making a sacrifice of time, you know, on a lark. We were very serious

about it. We're very serious about everything we did, and...we were open minded.

We felt that...this was not going to be a, a young |u'l<. movement, ever. We

were going to seek compatible people of all ages. I mean, when it was over with,

we didn't want to sit and, and, and preside over a, a wreck, wreckage of the party.

There were several people there that are good people that we certainly wanted to have

part of it. And we, regardless of ages or geography, we tried to convert some

people, and we found people very positive. We found very few people,who were,

you know, brought up in one...in one cause so much that they weren't interested in

the good of the party. There were some personalities of course that, you know,

wanted to prevail, but, you must remember that we, there were three, three factions

now you see. There was the Young Republican faction, which wasn't taken too serious-

ly by a lot of people, like Congressman Kramer, Congressman Gurney, tet oO

por 0Tftr'per- G. Harold Alexander, or even Charles Holly, which was the head of

the second faction. Now the second faction, as you said, there was unrest in the

party in the past, and Holly was there. He was, he-was the champion of the, of the

dissidence they had in the past, and he, he almost became the chairman. He, you

know, had a big effort tobecome the chairman of the party four years earlier. And

he did it in...such a way that the others were just totally...you know, polarized.

K: I'm assuming that Charles Holly, for the moment I'm assuming that Charles Holly

was a close friend of the kind of dissidenee that Helene Morris...had with...

Alexander, say in the late '50's and early '60's. This was that group of, so

called, grass roots Republican dissidenee then, and here you were presenting your-

self as a third movement. Is that a fair characterization?

S: That's fair. Yes, yes that's fair. The...the major opposition was Charles Holly.

We were, we were...political..., you know, ...call it, well...it certainly was an

upset, to say the least.

K: Um, hum.

S: And it was an upset until the very last minute. I mean people didn't even realize

what we had, but we did our homework. And so, in many counties there were two or...

and, and at least two and sometimes three candidates for these state committee men

and women posts.

K: Let's explore that just to make sure that we have it fully understood. You're

suggesting that Charles Holly was a larger threat to your group for the state chair-

man than G. Harold Alexander.

S: Indeed.

K: Can you explain that? That doesn't make a lot of sense.

S: Well, the...we quickly realized that the Alexander forces...first of all, Alexander

and Brown were at odds, and so Alexander, Alexander didn't realize what had hap-

pened to, to the, to the team. The team he had probably blind disciples, x number

of them, but not enough to win this race. And, and Holly had done a lot of work,

he had built a lot of goundwork...in the past four years. He had people ready to

run. He had done his work there. He had candidates for for these offices in, in

many of the counties so that where there were Alexander people they were being

challenged. Our...it looked to us as though the Alexander, the Holly people were

going to win. We frankly felt and we knew Charles Holly, those that got to know him

a little better, we were, we were not willing to accept Charles Holly. We felt that

he did not have the qualities that we needed to have.

K: What kind of qualities?

S: We were seeking...I guess you might say three major things. We wanted an unscarred

personality to lead the party so that we could unite all of the factions. And we

needed someone who had enough money so that they would not be tempted or corrupted

by any of the power and...that could come, would come with the state chairmanship.

And we wanted someone who had no particular personal political ambition. We didn't

want the state chairmanship to be a stepping-stone to the governorship or to the

candidacy for the United States Senate or anything else. We wanted a technician

type of person, a person, a do-good type person. Holly wouldn't qualify in any,

for any of these three.

K: Can you shed some light on what might have produced a split between Tom Brown and

Harold- Alexander?

S: ...Harold Alexander's a very strong personality. He ran the party with an iron -

hand over the years. I only met the man twice in my life, and I enjoyed meeting

him_ h"gt)s q,, I'll never forget the time I spent with him. ...Cause I saw, I

saw something in operation which impressed me a lot. And I saw what he had, he, he's

the man that was loved by a lot of people, loved, worshipped by a lot of people in

his party, and out ofJfthe party, for that matter. So he had to have something

you know, good as they say in the lyric in the song,4om Brown, on the other hand,

was a, was a man that was close, his mother was close to G. Harold Alexander. Tom

is an attorney from Tampa. He is a soft-spoken, religious man. ...He is, he's

confused a lot, he doesn't understand a lot of things,he's not political at all.

He has...a lot of complexes. He had i hh1irnn almost from the beginning

with his national committee woman, who also served as his treasurer. And...he

was frightened about it all. He just never, he never had...he felt ' he was going

to be elected. He felt 'till the very last minute that there would be a movement

that he'd be...a compromised person.

K: Very specifically, I'm curious if, if you heard anything at all at this time
that Mr. Alexander and Mr. BrownAhaving some argument over his personal funds?

S: Well, there was some discussion about that, too, then, and that's where Helene

came in--would write checks for a while and all that.

K: Do you know anything specific a0boo V+ H+ ?

S: No I don't. No. I, we didn't get into that, into that part of it all. ...We

figured it needed some changing and...that was just another detail...

K: Just another incident.

S: ...it was not part of our...

K: Your problem.

S: Yeah. We really didn't think so much about the money cause there really wasn't

a lot.

K: When did you have to...have your organization organized and the candidates

on the slate ready to go? When were your elections going to be, March, '65

first primary?

S: Yeah. I believe it was that time.

K: And you still didn't have a choice for the party chairman?

S: No. No, we hadn't, we hadn't thought about it. Our--I know I had a thought-

of it, so did Marquita, 'cause we talked about it enough Our choice was

Lou Fry, and...I visited with Senator Gurney one day, at his home.

K: Do you remember when?

S: Oh, it was prior to March, I would guess. Had a delightful meeting with him,

probably the best meeting I ever had...with the senator. He was congressman then.

K: But it would of been early of '65, rather than late in '64?

S: Yes, yes. Because we were along--we were on our way. As a matter of fact,

I think it came prior, right after Lincoln Day, _rool the Lincoln

Day dinners. We had a meeting with Bill Kramer, and this is significant.

With Bill Kramer and Ed Gurney. And we told them what we were doing.

T_^e i Sc&, V.,' 1 I L^>C& 3Hi" Dow/gr o0d B=kb Creselius

K: Do you remember where you met?

S: It was in Ft. Lauderdale, Republican Governor's Club Hotel, or one of the

hotels there. They were speaking at--they were present for the Lincoln Day


K: So it would've been some time in February?

S: Yeah, I would guess so. Sometimes they're held in March. Anyway, we did

spend some time with them, we told them what were doing. They were very

nice, they said they'd stay out of it, and all TC, 1 On, you know.

I think they indulged us, think they indulged us. ...Of course, Bill Kramer

is a very astute person, as you know, keenly politically astute. And when

it even became obvious there was a chance that Ed Gurney's law partner could

become the state chairman, he immediately put a stop to that. So he...visited

with...Ed Gurney, and said, "Look...I'm neutral, you're neutral, and all that

sort of thing. I just don't think it's right that your law partner be a can-

didate." And so, they pulled--well, wait a minute, I'm getting ahead of myself.

'Cause I did have this meeting with Ed Gurney at his home, and we sat and&:"
o r e,
talkedAlong while. And...it was a good meeting. I think he was impressed,

impressed with me, impressed with what we were saying, impressed with what we

had done. I still don't think he felt it was going to happen. Ed Gurney was

...in his own world. He's been in his own world for a long--for a good part of

his life. It's unfortunate because he, he should come down a little bit from

his world and see, you know, reality. But...and that's not meant to be critical.

'Cause hetsa good person. He's just--I can't believe, you know, what's happening.

I can't believe it, can't believe it. But anyway, he...was very cordial, and

we went on. But, Kramer convinced him 4oIF Loo Tr a t,

K: Back up one second.

S: Okay.
K: This meetingyou had with Gurney before Kramer and Gurney talked. At that time

he was amenable to having Lou Fry...

S: Yes.

K: ...as a candidate.

S: Yes b t-

K: 4e h)O. no objections to it.

S: No, no objections. ...He didn't think it was going to happen. He knew Lou

was dabbling in the Young Republicans, and he didn't..., you know, really--

he was a congressman in that area, and he had everything. He could've been a

congressman there forever, and he knew that. And...he, he really I don't think

at the moment was thinking with his head.then.

K: Then you had this--then there was this meeting at some time between Gurney and

Kramer. .

S: Ernie Tramer of our group, and....

K: And your group

S: Yeah. That's where--when Kramer lied to us, and said he'd be impartial, and

stay out of it and was all for us, but he wasn't. He was very much with Holly,

totally with Holly.

K: And he was with Holly, you think, at this time. You used the word _

S: I think so. I think so, because he did tell us...you know, directly that he'd

be neutral. And...I mean at least that, and, and be really was in sympathy with

us. But he was totally with Holly.

K: At this Ft. Lauderdale meeting?

s: Yeo .. o-ffer ee +hot h

at the state meeting. When the contest was taking place, he was there for Holly,

and his man....

K: But, when you met with him earlier...

S: He said he'd be neutral at this time.

K: ...he would be neutral at this time.

S: Yeah, yeah.

K: And of course, this is what you wanted...

S: That's right.

K: ...was support, but neutrality.

S: That's right.

K: Why was that? Why wouldn't you have wanted these men to...help you? These are

national figures, these are men of some importance, ...they're statewide people.

S: Well, we felt that...we could be more objective if we did it ourselves. We, we

didn't want to be part of a, of a Kramer faction, or a Gurney--there was no'

such thing as a Gurney faction. There was a Kramer faction. And Kramer had

been pretty well identified with Holly. Kramer was one of our heroes. No

question about it. Hell, we thought he was great. And he, and he was a fine

congressman. We were proud of him, proud of him. I, I think sometimes it

boils down to poor communications, you know, because really...if Kramer, Kramer

for all his brilliance, and, and he's brilliant when it comes to political

strategy, keenly brilliant. For all of this, he missed the point here. He

missed the point that could've put him in the United States Senate. If he had

realized, you know, the group, the seriousness of this group, and the ability

of this group. 'Cause this group, you know, went on, on to become very effective

in the party. And, and...you know, anyway, heiminssed it. And we became adver-

saries and it never healed, never healed.

K: Really. And sometime thereafter either in late February, but still before

March, Lou Fry informed you that he could no longer be a candidate for the

state party chairmanship...

S: That's right.


K: ...because of a meeting between his senior law partner, Ed Gurney, and Bill


S: That's correct. Kramer got, got him out of the race. And so we were faced with

the...situation where we thought we had the votes. We were, we were a factor

to be reckoned with. We had the candidates running for offices in the various

counties. We won some; we lost some. We beat some, some bad ones. We beat

the woman in...in...Orange County. ...We won some, you know, we really won some

good victories there... And in Dade County, we won that, you know, with Mrs.

O'Neill, and LOrf. Ti 'Birae. iQj Broward County, we won that seat, and

O... s"t V06 We had, we had a good, good vote count going.

K: So you think you were the issue then by this time, 'cause you're coming very

close to the meeting, was becoming a critical one, because you are now in a

relatively strong position.

S: Yes, and we had a very good candidate with a bright, young...attorney, in, in

Lou, a...man with a great future obviously. Made a good speech, made a nice

appearance. We had a good clean-cut candidate. That was a factor, too.

K: And very specifically, your information came from Lou Fry?

S: Yes.

K: As a result of his conversation with Gurney...

S: He was taken out of the race.

K: ...according to Lou, from Gurney.

S: Yes.

K: He, in other words, did not communicate with Kramer insofar as you know.

S: Lou?

K: Right.

S: I don't think so. _

K: I just want to make sure I got that perfectly clear how that, how that went on.

S: Yeah, yeah.

K: Okay. ...When did you p'r k 1i U o0C Y'\ ?

S: Well, we met...we were working all along, I'd see Tom Brown every week or so.

I had a very nice rapport with him. And I said, let's, let's, we had just

returned from a campaign management school in... ~oed cQ Georgia.

Mrs. Hawkins was there with me, my mother. And we were very enthusiastic, you

know, about this program and everything, and we thought it would be well for

us to have some type of a, of a statewide meeting...seminar. And so....

K: Excuse me for interrupting, this campaign school in _Gardens,

this would've been when?

S: In '65, sometime in '65.

K: Still before the March...

S: Yes...May, still before the May...

K: Still before the May meeting

S: Yes, oh yes.

K: ._____

S: Because Tom Brown had to sanction our, our attendance. He did, and he was there,

and so we, we were__ So I went to him and said, "Let's, let's do a

joint venture here. Let's have the Young Republican Trust Fund, and the state

party have a meeting in Orlando. Have a one day meeting or luncheon, and have

a...have classes in, in financing a campaign." And we did it. And it was a

tremendous success. It was about the best thing that happened to Tom Brown

in his four years. for us, in fact I have a picture somewhere in my

files of Tom Brown and myself, and ...and '13\ I iOr-Pi who was not

anything then, who wasn't known as the candidate in the same picture. wnd c h 4o

by then_ We made the decision there, if I remember correctly, and

adjourned that meeting. We had...had to get together on a candidate. Now, we

needed a candidate, this was before the vote, the second time we voted. This

was before...I don't, I don't remember the date now of this meeting. It could've

been, could've been in March of )5" I just don't recall. I wish

I had my ,cror0 book here. But...

K: Of '65.

S: Of '65, yes. In any event, JrI'Af was not challenged in his county as the

state committee man, and he was going to be, he was staking in there d.c ;Q

by virtue of filing. We couldn't take a chance on a candidate that wasn't,

that wasn't state committeeman elect. In other words, if we had o Codi1 Fi

C-.. no matter how attractive he or she might be, we just couldn't go with

that, and run the risk. You know, because you start promoting somebody and

then he's not, not elected, he couldn't be elected as chairman. SoijP-i

was one and D.B. Nelson o0 ~rfbrL)was another, and there were a few others

in that category.

K: Why not Tom Brown? If you'd split with Alexander and he was opposed to Charles

Holly, and he was already there, why not Tom Brown?

S: 'Cause our people, a lot of our people...were against Tom Brown. There people

you would talk with that were a part of our team that just will tell you he's

a crook, they'll tell you he's the most-despicable person in the world. There

were people just, just hated Tom PyFfield Brown, as they hated Alexander.

People who didn't even meet any of these men. But they just had this fervor

about it. So they wanted a new face. And we agreed with that concept. We

agreed with that concept. So we needed a new face.

K: And...by this time, Alexander had put up, or at least at some point in time

before this May meeting, Alexander puts up Wilbur Barn.

S: Yes, that was his candidate, Wilbur Barn was his candidate.

K: Do you know anything at all about Mr. Barn?

S: Barn is an attorney from Tallahassee, He did not campaign. Alexander felt

he had the votes....

K: Jttst- by virtue of m Hi~ r .

S: By virtue of saying our candidate, "Joe, our candidate this year is Wilbur

Barn, good old Will," he may not have known Will Barn. But Alexander had

rapport with his people. It was so strong that if they said that Hal

Stayman was the candidate, Hal Stayman'd get their vote. Just like that, you

know, like pushing a twitch. Our people aren't that way. The people that were

with us, were with us, but the conservatives by, by nature, I guess,...are

purists. And...we'll split hairs and, and, and cross the 4~ee twice, but we'll

quarrel among ourselves and we would just have to be, you know, have to be sold

and re-sold y ao every hour. It's a different type of personality.

Alexander's people were, were disciplined. No qualm about it. They just did

exactly what he said. And he felt he could deliver the votes for Barn. He also

felt that Barn was, was doing some work. Now, somewhere along the way, we did

some figuring, and we figured Holly for x number of votes and we figured our

group for x number of votes. Holly was an...active campaigner, a good campaigner,

Makes a good speech, was all fired up in this thing. He had everything going

for him. We've got to get the new team in here. Barry Goldwater lost, and he

was saying the things very well that we were saying, you know, and so he had...

momentum, you know. And...then there would, then there would be Alexander votes.

We didn't call them Tom Brown votes because Tom Brown on his own probably wouldn't

have gotten four votes. I hate to say that 'cause I like Tom, but he probably

wouldn't have gotten four, three perhaps. But ..how few he had on his own.

He j/Si' n.o\f dAi. On ,O'u r'r, OtQ bur state committeewoman

? one maybe, one vote.in Pasco. But...so

Alexander had...pocketed votes. We...had, had this meeting in Orlando to determine

whoour candidate was going to be. ...We wanted to bring about the change O_

Bill MUty/, was selected because he had the, the qualities that we wanted.

K: Was there any debate about Bill ?IrFp ?

S: A lot of debate about him. One of the men...one of the trustees andu'lwalked

out afterwards said, "Well, we, we probably lost it." I didn't feel we had lost

it, but this man did. I lost a lot of my enthusiasm for: it 'cause I really

liked Lou Fry, and I was close to Lou and I, I knew him. Merkin was a loner.

MlTki was always a loner in the Young Republicans. He was a nice fellow, and

he was always there. But...we didn't know much about him. He was not a leader

in the Young Republicans. I don't think he ever chaired a committee. He never

was an officer. He was not the softspoken type, but a good guy. He's a lot

stronger than we ever realized. He turned out to be, in my opinion, an excellent,

excellent chairman. a4o 0, 10gF 0 strength.

K: You mentioned some qualities that you were looking for in a state chairman.

S: He had all of them. He had enough money, had three or four little drugstores, and

he didn't have the political ambition for himself. And he was a new face. So he

had the qualities we were looking for. He wasn't dynamic. He wasn't a member of

the club, so to speak. Fry was a member of the club at that point, and you kind

of like to go with a member of your club when you're making somebody. We had

done the work to make him. We felt we could've made anybody. The other choice

that we had was B.B. Nelson of Brevard County, and....

K: What was his bocikJ roon~c ?

S: Oh, he was in the insurance business over there, and real estate business hpe had

real estate business. And a good man, but...not a Lou Fry.

K: So there really was only three possibilities: Fry, Nelson, and ~-fM'in.

S: Well, if I remember correctly C t O P r < hP C Uc b u

We really didn't have much choice, but to select M-FFIA-. And...we, we selected

him, and developed this campaign. The first part of the campaign he went with
__and visited all of the people up in the panhandle. And

then he met me in Tampa, and we visited my part of the circuit.

K: All of this still before May?

S: All of this before the. .

K: This was really a crash campaign.

S: Yeah, I had him about the last couple of weeks. That, that's how close it was.

And I, I say this to you modestly, a"Xle-toloma h'i e no cause to exaggerate

it. We sat in theTrovq odp- in, in, in...in Tampa

you know, just the two of us. And I guess I just got the

spark then to, to just, you know, go for broke with itI l~e 'cause I didn't

know Bill all that well. We went to Br/i for dinner that night, and had a

good long talk together. ...B.B. Nelson and some people in Brevard County were

handling the operation, they had a VtiS line over there. They weren't doing

a very good job of it. We took control away from there. And it was my idea that

we go see Harold Alexander...

K: Um, hum.

S: ...which I think was the turning point of the whole thing.

K: Okay, now let's talk about that Alexander meeting.

S: That was, that was a secret.

K: That's a very secret meeting.

S: YeahCi IOc o- pponp don't even know it today. Somebody might even deny it, but

it sure as hell happened.

K: Okay, let's talk about that meeting.

S: Yeah.

K: When, the circumstances, how did you come to the decision, what went on?

S: We went down to see Bill Man in...in his office in Q,_ County, and it was...

Bill +Meik4t and myself and...Bill Shields and...I don't know who, there could've

been another person with.us.

K: How many weeks before the May meeting was this?

S: Week, week and a half before probably, the Saturday before the last Saturday

I would guess. It was a session in the morning. We went in there to see him.

Some of us had never seen him before. He was suspicious as we were suspicious.

He's a old .-es. No question about it. He took us to the yacht club for lunch

that day, and very polite. He was indulgent a little bit. The way the Democrats

were when we elected Kirk and became involved in government, you know, they're

very polite. They know how to really be smooth, they're as smooth as satin.

He listened to what we had to say, and we listened to what he had to say.

K: Can I interrupt yu?

S: Yes.

K: What prompted you to go to, or your group to go to Alexander in the first place?

S: Well, I took a vote counting and came to the conclusion that...that they had the,

they had the winning, winning votes for us, or for Holly. We were about...

K: They had the swing vote, in other words?

S: They had the swing on it.

K: I just wanted to make sure I understood that.

S: I didn't know how big a swing they had.

K: Okay.

S: But they had to go with somebody.

K: Okay.

S: So, and this kinda happened as every minute went by. 4-fhou-t--

K: Did Alexander understand that?

S: No, he didn't, no, ozd b\ed0~ias started out...feeling rather smug about it. And

he is, he was a political pro. He, you know, he really had something in his day.

And we listened to him, and he, and we knew about where his votes were, in, in

some of the northern counties, and some of the central Florida counties, and cer-

tainly the west coast counties. And they were blind votes. They'd do whatever

he said. And...these were the people that we had down as negative votes for us.

And...we listened to him for quite a while and Mlrkin was very, you know, M4rlkie

wasn't too wild about going .there in the first place, and he, he denied for years

that he ever went there, you know, to see, to see the man. But...I showed him what

we were doing. We got to talking there and I just, I said, "Now Mr. Holly, Alex-

ander, let me just show you what--how far along we are." And I show him, I went

even to show him the cards. I didn't let him read them, I showed them so he could

see that things were documented.. Showed him a map with colors in the different

counties. He was going where, and he said, "Well, that person's going to be with

me." I said, "No, now they're Holly votes

We hit him with a lot of stuff. Anyway, he was impressed with out organization,

and Will Barn had not done any work. And we had to sell, number one,\that Will

Barn could not win. There was no way that he could win. Number two, that unless

he took an active part in it, Charles Holly would probably win. We'd come close,

but Charles Holly would probably win. And, he took us to lunch and then he went

back to his office alone, and he did some checking. We went back to see him

later that day.

K: That same day?

S: Yes. If I remember correctly. This was years and years ago. I was very exci-

ted about it all because he was very important to us Q0 ,e decided

that he was going to support MeokiA.. Could hardly say his name; didn't know

how to spell it. And he got on the telephone and this was a marvelous thing to

watch, because we really had to work for our votes. He got on the telephone

and he called six or seven counties in front of us. 'Visited with the people,

howdy'd with them, you know, ..."How are you Ernest," Ernest Cransman. He said,

"Well," he said, "what do you think about this thing. He said, "You know, Will

hasn't been doing much." He said, "No, no, no." He said, "Well," he said, "I'll
MA~r-Pn; 1(ytr-4'A
tell you what," he said, "we're going to go with .Meek-n, this fellow M44.t-i"

And he had \ pen efr o t\ or whatever.

Is that you? You have this one. That must be yours.

So he, he got on the telephone and...my goodness, it was just like Oil Ove --

__, place. These people just said, "Okay, that's it, and...we'll,

we'll promote them." 'Cause this was a secret, and if we knew about this, of

course, we were very enthusiastic about it. We wanted to keep this thing, you

know, alive.

K: Who did you tell?

S: Oh, I don't think I told very many people about it.

K: How about the people who were trustees there?

S: No.

K: Even they didn't know.

S: They didn't know.

K: Can we draw an analogy to sort of a circle within a cirlce then?

S: Yes. I think that...Bill Shields knew. QsIhmaa knew. Mfri n-knew. I knew.

K: "See, 'cause I've gotten another impression of who the enemy was, and where

Alexander was in all of this in dealing with other people, so I want to make

sure I understand that this was really, really kept tightly within this group.

S: It was very tight, very, very tight. There wasn't even any, any indication

of anything like this until the night of the, the night before the election,

as the Alexander people arrived.

K: More out of curiosity than historical importance, why in years passed, after

this was over, why wouldn't people likeW MC-A or perhaps yourself or others

wouldn't want to talk about this meeting? What difference would it-have made

after all of this was done?

S: Well, I think thatME lff...sometimes when a man is elected to high office...and

I think this is a characteristic or a flaw, I guess, common flaw in, in political

people--they forget, they have short memories. They forget their supporters.

I never forgot it because I -ia it was a very significant thing to us. Of

course, I wasn't the candidate. If I'd been the chairman maybe I would've

forgotten it. It wasn't a convenient thing to reflect upon, maybe, but it sure

as hell happened. It's the only way it would've happened.

K: So this Young Republican group, just to put it in proper perspective, young,

enthusiastic, conservatives, new breed, getting ready to take over the party,

goes to the old master in patronage Republicanism to form a compromise against

another dissident group.

S: Right.

K: Well, that's peculiar.

S: It's the only way to do it.

K: That's peculiar.

S: It was the only way to do it. It worked.

K: And that's the important point.

S: Well, the thing is that...that is, we, maybe we were trusting. I don't know.

I was very deeply involved in it, and I, I...could understand G. Harold Alex-

ander, and I, I did-not find him to be--I frankly was more comfortable with

G. Harold Alexander than I could ever be with Charles Holly. I also realized

we were in, in a very important battle here. If...if we had lost this election

we might as well have left the cause because I know how Bill Kramer operates, and

it would've been a closed shop.

K: Did you make any promises or any commitments to Alexander?

S: Not one. He did say one thing;to MeRph when we left the room. He said, "Well,"

he said, "if I'm alive Bill," he said, "I'd sure like to be a delegate to the

national convention," and...and MeiAph. didn't, you know, he just... 1MerThi

didn't, you know, lferpinrridn't, wasn't thinking as a state chairman or what-

ever. He said, "Well, I sure enjoyed meeting you." He made no commitment at

all. In fact, rMeptln--I don't think he had as much affection for the old man

as I did. I had affection for Alexander. I really did. I thought that...

he was quite a person.

K: By the way, when he was making those phone calls while you were there, did he...

did he at this point in time call Will Barn in your presence?

S: Yes.

K: And tell him he was out?

S: More or less. HeCj14 i Cr' f^ 6' he didn't do it quite that crudely. He called

him and asked him what he'd been doing. Barn hadn't done the job. Barn did not

deserve the support. And we pointed it out to him, said, "You'll throw your

votes down the sewer." I think Alexander's back was against the wall. It wasn't

because of his, his love--as far as I could tell, he didn't have a philosophy,

political philosophy. It was just a practical, old-guard type politician, but...

it was the lesser of the two evils. And besides that, I did tell him this, I

said, "We would put some of the old-guard on our slate."

K: Okay.

S: I said that.

K: So there was at least some, some exchange.

S: Yeah. But not specifically that this person would be in. It would be, it would

be up to us. I, I felt that he was entitled ta that, and I felt it wouldn't

do us any harm. Keep in mind these people were going to be on the, in the state

committee for four years, and...I had some problems with6SO0t people

about that because they just couldn't...

K: About that commitment?

S: About having anybody at all that was ever associated with G. Harold Alexander,

no matter what. This is what's wrong, I think, with our party now and nationally,

because it's got to be, you know, the inner circle, you know. We talk to our-

selves but we don't win anything. We have to, we have to broaden the base a

little bit. And these people--we can learn from these people. And...I think

it's good where you have...oh, seventy per cent of the people over sixty-five,

I think you ought to have a couple of people over sixty-five on the slate.

K: And so, Alexander decided...

S: To throw in with us.

K: ...going to Tampa, to throw in with you?

S: That's right.

Tape II, side I

S: Now we were talking about...where were we?

K: Alexander, and we finished that meeting that would of been the Saturday before

the convention

S: Yeal, it was thei Saturday before that. We had a...

K: The Saturday before that.

S: ...we had one week in between, and we really...we visitedd with Marquita in Miami.

We had lunch with Marquita at the Country Store. Bill PeMrl and I. It was my

practice to meet her at least once every ten days to bring her up to date.

She was delighted with the progress. I don't know whether she thought for sure

we were gonna win, but she knew we were in there giving it a battle.

K: Did she approve of Bill Pbwkia?

S: Oh, yes! Oh, yes indeed she did.

K: Had she known him before?

S: No, uh,uh, not at all. She visited with him before that. No, she approved of

him 'cause he was a good honest fella. He...this was the beauty of it. You

know, we had confidence in each other.

K: Did you tell Marquita Maytag about your meeting with G. Harold Alexander?

S: Yes.

K: And how did she feel about that?

S: She thought it was pretty clever.

K: So do I.

S: Yeah, she thought it was pretty clever. She...you haweto know her. She's

really an extraordinary person, Marquita, brilliant woman. And...she wanted to

win this thing. She really did want, want a victory, but...she...she thought

it was a Cg Ie VkCi -f thing. She took it well.

K: By the way, for the purposes of this record, ...'cause I'm not sure we have

it on this tape, the check she wrote was for $25,000?

S: $25,000, yes, yeah. v

K: Okay, in this week before then, in the meeting it wea yot- ad Marquita Maytag.

Anything else of importance go on before we get to Tampa?

S: Just the usual last minute rumors and charges and counter-charges...youtre

getting close to a big election like this there's awful lot of...conjecture

and people are getting a little nervous and they think--we, we had visited a

lot of the counties we did. We visited a lot of them together. We...felt that

we had the votes. It was probably the most exciting thing I've ever been involved

in in my life, I must say that. We arrived...at the hotel. It was the Inter-

national Inn in Tampa. And...got there early that day, Friday. And of course,

-many of the legislators came, and Holly didn't have a, a pin or anything.

He used green ribbon. So anybody wearing a green ribbon was a Holly person.

K: I've heard that in this meeting in Tampa at the International Motel, and

getting off that important subject, getting to a type of minor issue about

these green banners and ribbons and...

S: Yeah.

K: ...that not only Holly's name was on them, but a I-C-Y.

S: Well, there could've been some--that ICY machine is the Insco-Kramer-Young


K: Can you, can you give me a little insight as to what this was, what this was

doing with--I know they were supporting Holly, this was Holly's group, but...

S: Well, Insco was, is the great strategist, you know. He's, he was the"aa"to

Bill Kramer, and a very effective political worker, no question about it.

Smart as a fox. And he was there, and he is Kramer, and Kramer is he. You

know, they're inseparable. And he was totally for Holly. Everywhere for


K: By the way, this, this term you use, ICY machine, is that a common kind of

application or are you using that...

S: I don't think it was common then. No, it's--I-C-Y is referred to in the press

at St. Petersburg at much later years than that. That was early. It's a

federation of the three factions. Bill Young was a state senator then ..

The legislative delegation...

K: Behfiid Chor-/es

S: Oh, yeah! And they were present, and that hurt us a lot. We worried a lot

about that. But they didn't have the votes, you see. But they were there.

Particularly Bob Elrod was there. I'll never forget him. And this of course,

psychologically, hurt us. And we, we had a lot of psychological problems there

till those votes were counted. We had our votes, and but they had a lot more

drama. They had a couplecf very powerful people there. They hadMrs, Cassidy,

Ann Cassidy, from this county, who's well-to-do, She had a beautiful, huge

suite, and she provided Holly with that. And she was the big money person

behind him. And he had some other fine people behind him. He had some, some

radical people behind him. I think of some of them from central Florida, they

were there.

K: What do you mean radical...

S: Well, I mean extreme. I mean extreme people. People at the extreme right.

K: Oh, you'rerot using it in the political sense, then, you're...

S: No, not compared to what we think of today when we think of radical. In those

days if they were radical they were screeching around in the early hours of

the morning, you know. Because...our people came in and our people ?

more type people and everything. They were, they were quiet and, you know,

they were there and they had--we had a little, little stick-on pin that said

*F.hphen. I think it had an elephant and Murphin's name and it was bordered

in blue on a white background. That was the extent of our campaign material.

I mean we had brochures but our people would wear these things.

K: Had you been successful in fund raising through this period of time while

you were doing your other duties?

S: No, no, no, no.

K: Still there was no turnover of any extra money?

S: No, no our whole effort was...

K: Still shoestring.

S: Yeah, oh God, Spartan as hell. In fact, we were about broke.when we...

K: By the time you got to Tampa.

S: Yeah. And we did not have a lot of money. We had enough to have a hospitality

suite, we had enough to take care of a few things there, but we did not have

a great deal of money. We just didn't have the time to do it.

K: Which leads me to a question, sort of as an aside, but perhaps not, about things

that other people I've talked to, things I've been reading about. I can

understand that nothing breeds money like success. It's difficult to get

people to contribute large sums of money to losing causes, and the Republicans

had not had by 1965 what you might say, a successful political history. But,

these are people, by and large, and apparently in all three factions there were

people who had a lot of money. Just simply not willing to invest it yet, is

this the issue?

S: I think that was part of it, because they had invested in the past. See, we

didn't have any real serious candidate for statewide office, any real serious

candidate. This was one of the chief criticisms about Alexander, that he

didn't feel the candidates. But, I think it was the time. It was the era.

Florida then, and even today, Florida is essentially, the establishment of

the state is Demodrat. There's no question about it.

K: Right.

S: And the Republicans were kind of indulged, you know, ho-hum. And you ean get

a first-rate person to offer themselves for statewide office with so little

in terms of registered voters, in terms of capital. Our goal, our hope was

perhaps to one day entice a Bud Maytag type of person or an Eckerd type of

person. Didn't even know he existed then. But that type of person. Some-

body that had a name that was known. Somebody that had the business accom-

plishment, had the reputation, the Sterling reputation,that we could take

a candidate like this. We felt we could win with a candidate like that, still

feel that way.

K: Going into the Tampa meeting, was the, were the issues purely political or

were there other fundamental philosophic problems between Holly and 1e ph&n,

or between the two factions if you want to talk about it in the larger sense,

or was this blatant raw politics?

S: Well, there certainly wasn't much difference philosophically. Holly was, 5

conservative and ~keph was a conservative. I'm sure on some issues that

one might be little more liberal or a little less liberal. But we didn't have

that particular fervor. We were caught up in it because it was a continuation

of our, of our objective, you know, to get the mechanism, have the mechanism

to build on. We felt that we certainly had the goal there. It was...became

rather passionate. It was a hard battle. I mean there were...

K: But purely a power-play.

S: It was a, it was a matter of a fight for power, right. And...because you're

either in or you're out. If you run a fine race and lose by two votes you're

out for four years. This was a very important thing. Very important.

K: So there was alot of emotion.

S: Great emotion, particularly with the women. And it was a late evening. We

stayed up the whole night, of course, you always do, campaigning. The old

guard started arriving. They came in late, later in the day. And these were

people that some people had never seen.

K: This is Alexander...

S: The Alexander group. They came in that night and they came in the following

morning. And, of course, they started appearing with the lqephin stickers,

which I provided them with, and Chuck provided them with. 'Cause I was very-

much of a fighter in this thing. I'm not at, wasn't didn't get

as involved in it emotionally. I got involved in it emotionally, 'cause I

was vocal, I was kind of an invisible vocal person and I loved to debate it,

you know, 'cause I believed in what we were doing. So I was in one, one debate

after another.the whole night long. An4 group of them came to me in the lobby.

I'll never forget as long as I live, about seven of them. And, you know, how

terrible we were, they thought we were constitutionalists. They thought we

were conservatives. They thought we were purists as they were, you know, to

bring about -he Renaissance, you know, to participate in throwing the rascals

out. And here the rascals are wearing eTrpin pins. We, you know, they're

rogues. And I said to them very simply, "These people are going to vote for

one of two people tomorrow. They don't have a candidate, you haven't checked

it out. Will Barn's through. There's no way." They didn't know

about that. They didn't know Will Barn was out really until the eve of that


K: So his name never even appeared...- nomination .nytll-L ele?

S: No, never
K: Okay.

S: But I had lunch with Tom Brown the day before the meeting and I had Tom Brown

going to vote for us, and I had Helene Morris going to vote for us, and I sat

in her home with her. We had people that never agreed on the time of day that

were going to vote for our man. It was a great coup. We really did. And

this was, I think, testimony what we might be able to do is to bring the damn

groups together one way or the other. And so the point was that if the people

voted for you they'd be great; if they voted for us they're bad. It just des-

troyed their argument, you know. We even had the state committeewoman in
FYn ur P -
Charles Holly's home county vote for Meephin which took a lot of courage, Thelma

Fisher. Thelma Fisher was one of the people that I wanted to see given a

position on the state executive committee because of her courage in doing it.

I felt that that was--it's one thing to be for you when you're in Dade County

or another place, but when you have the courage to stand up and vote against

the man in your own coun ty and you go back to that county, it takes a certain

amount of character to do that.

K: Did you have any showing up to do before the vote? Did you have any weakening


S: Oh, yes, hell yes we did. Lots of it. Some of the people from the east coast

who said they were--they bought this argument. My God, how could we have these

Alexander people going to vote for us? Helene Morris is going to vote for

Merpihn. Helene Morris is no good. Helene Morris is this... and we had to con-

tinue to take them one by one. And calm them down and say, "Now, don't buy

the argument." 'Cause our own ranks could've been splintered with this, you

see. And there were some people that were with Holly that were our friends

in some other instances.

K: So you really took a calculated risk when you went to see Alexander and did

this because it could've backfired...

S: No question about it.

K: ...in terms of Tampa.

S: No question about it. But if we hadn't of done it, we wouldn't have won the

race. We would've been, we would've run a good race, and we would've lost.

And Holly probably 'w6uld've lost because Kramer would've found a way to

communicate with Alexander. We pulled it, we really pulled it over his eyes.

He didn't think we would have the, you know, the _there.

K: Did you talk to Kramer or...

S: Yeah, I talked to Kramer.

K: ...Holly at Tampa?

S: Yeah d'~__

K: Pror- ?1- **F:

S: Yes, I did.

K: What went on?

S: I told Kramer that's another suicidal thing because Holly was twelve year or
ten year's veteran of the pasti-and I told him, I says, "We're never going to

forget the fact that your bag-man is working all night long, you know, when

you pledged us neutrality." So I said, "We'll never forget it as long as

we're involved in this game and we're going to be involved in it. We're

going to win this thing tomorrow." And Kramer said to me, "Well, may the

best man win." I said, "He will win." And Kramer about three or four o'clock

in the morning went to see Me~eopn, visited with him in his room, in his suite.

And 7mrTphr, of course, was a late hour and 14rphin was impressed that Kramer

had come to see him, and Bill and I had a little quarrel over that, but just

a little one, nothing too severe. Because we were working our hearts and

souls out for XMgpb4t and he had to know that. But anyway, it was a very

sweet victory, and...

K: Did Kramer, in his meeting with Measpin, was this a private meeting just the


S: Yeah, it was private. I was not, I didn't see him in there. Well, I mean

he's, he's clever, he's cunning, he's astute. He tried to cover his tracks.
e said, 1, you knOw
He said, look II _ hadn't been involved," and all that

sort of thing.

K: Did you talk to Charles Holly before the vote?

S: Little bit. Nothing to do...

K: Nothing ve-ry MfO(c\ O ,r"O, I ,

S: Just said that if, if he won, we'd want to pledge our support to him, which

we would've been in Iceland. That's about as close as we would've been to him.

Because it was a hell of a thing, you know. We took a man who was a great

orator, Holly was a good orator compared to what we had. He's a super orator.

M6iis could hardly put together three sentences. .yr ft 0 q O I1

disparaging, just isn't part of his, his talent. He picked up a lot, he

improved a lot. And we took a man who had been in the state legislature.

Ran against a man that had been a.member of the state legislature. We took

a man who had the full support of the legislative delegation which was all we

had in those days. We took a man who was the standard bearer for the office

of governor of this state. With the billboards and the posters and all the

play. We took a man that was known in the press.

K: How many people were at this convention?

S: I don't remember...I would guess there were between two and three hundred.

K: What kind of an organization did you have for that morning vote?

S: Had it well disciplined T.hord four managers

People who were in the trust fund all had different assignments and we had


--where we had people who were wavering or who needed strength we had one of

our best supporters sitting next to them and we had all that. And we had

the seconding the nominating, seconding speeches all down and...

K: Who nominated Maeph~n?

S: I...I don't remember it now. I just don't know.

K: You didn't?

S: I was not a voted member.

K: Oh, you would not--that's right, you would not have been a voting member.

S: I sat in the back row with Mrs. Hawkins. I remember that very well, 'cause

we kept the votes together. And Paula was very much for us in those days,

very much for it. It was a great victory. FITI, I've been involved in

a lot of things with Kirk and others, and we won, you know, the governorship

which was far more important materially, but I don't think I've ever done

anything in my life which was like this. First thing I did after the votes

were counted, I tOf i ~df1e' telephone call to Marquita, while they were

still up there. I called Marquita and then I called G. Harold Alexander.

I don't think ipWaha ever called him, I did that.

K: I think that's very nice. How close was the vote?

S: Not close.

K: It was not a close vote ?

S: I mean it wasn't, you know, it was a significant vote. And everybody on our

slate was elected.

K: And it was elected in the way that you planned it out?

S: Exactly, precisely.

K: sjred S e Jo'rOf'e 4-fS ^w

S: Yeah.

S: Do you remember who was on the slate besides Athphla.

S: Yes....Mary Lou Hammon was the vice-chairman. She was from Vero Beach, and

Lou Fry was the treasurer We all wanted that. And

Mrs.Mamie_ r ( was assistant secretary or something, from up in the

panhandle f.Q P'n RI nffp op/-,from--was on the slate, from Eustis,

Florida. And, I think, L- T k (k?) rmQ o Lee ho ,0(1 do\ 0
TO/r S,' c
was on there. I don't remember...

K: Anybody from Alexander's group?

S: Mamie l OfF would've been (C She had a minor office.

K: Would've been a mi- f rom the Alexander faction.

S: Yeah. We did make Mrs. Fisher the vice chairman for that congressional

district. There were a few. Nothing that anybody could get upset about at


K: After the vote--well before we get to after the vote, in the wake of this por

C r-mn, e I heard something the other day about microphones and tables

and walky-talkies...

S: That was not with our thing. That was the time before. ta&ASAts A e

bews&,, Holly did all of that stuff in his ill-fated campaign four years


K: Okay.

S: It came on a bad deal. We had access to all this junk, but it was junk.
K: B +o + f yo cd-il' f.. o k i ,..1 Non o~- -h + Kiid ot -tk`+' 4Re-
No 0 o-- There wasn't a tape recorder in view anywhere.

Nothing. And this was the, this was the thing that the press liked about


K: A tape recorder in view, or a tape recorder not being there?

S: No, I mean the fact that we didn't have all.the...

K: All the electronic...

S: ...yeah, allthe electronic stuff, and we didn't have--didn't have any

pressure. It was an ivy league c re6 r rp_ -i i+,; orovy league +ne 4ny

what it was.

K: \In the wake of this meeting did Holly come to you?

S: No.


tIQur pi n
K: Did Kramer come to you, or Uwrphd. 'I should say, I guess it was...

S: Kramer--during the meeting itself?

K: After the vote.

S: After the vote. Oh, sure! After the vote, yes.

K: What went on?

S: Well, Mecpfin talked with Kramer. Kramer was still the senior statesman

of the party. It was very much in order for him to do it. He did a little

more than I'd like to see him do it, but he was the chairman then. And he

was very kind to Holly. His speech was, you know, he over did it. He o00 0 Y01 \ 0\

Holly this, Holly that, Holly... We were dismayed about that. He Mty_ r e(ri

Sthe chairman of the elected officials' committee which gave him a plat-

form from which to speak. But Bill, Bill quickly rose to the challenge of

the assignment. He really did. That was a--the Lord was with us because

he turned out to be a very able person.

K: Okay. This brings us to May, 1966, this meeting and then we run into the

situation that arises with Claude Kirk.

S: The day of the meeting, the day after the meeting, the next morning. F rf

0 f o had a hell of a celebration that night o.4 "nr -

We really did. It was ai r b~ca ro hle kb arioaI nkelebration I've ever been

part of. We just were so enthused.

K: How many people were there?

S: Our group...the people from Dade, and the--all the people who were part of the

trust fund and their mates and what have you. We must of had forty, fifty

people 'JB)rYs scattered throughout the place.CoJu rt l a P-I( + plhef

We just had a ball.

K: In your last conversation you mentioned something about the fact that yexn

himself showed up for the first time.
urr,, K3r-,- 'i ro _
S: Yeah -Ve is--Vern came out from the kitchen, and you never see VeS,. He had

a big tee shirt on and shorts and he _~ ) Ve is a grand person, and

Vern will always remember that, 'cause we had dined there a couple of nights

earlier, and said we'd be back one way or the other. And he's about as non-

political as you could ever find a person, but he's great. I love Ae-r. But,

anyway, we did have a great celebration. The next morning we met and Chuck

became the first employee of the state party. Chuck became

a field man for MzephAn, by the way. And I...I don't know, I went to see

Gurney after that, the day or so after that. And I became special repre-

sentative for Gurney.

K: In Florida?

S: In Florida. But I was paid by Americans for Constitutional Action, ACA.

K: That's when you went on the payroll.

S: Of ACA.

K: Of ACA.

S: Yeah, assigned to Gurney.

K: Okay.

S: For his race.

K: For his race.

S: Yeah. That was in May.

K: And your premise was to form ACA committees...

S: No, the first thing was I was gonna help, I was gonna work for Gurney in his

election campaign. But, I was intrigued by the ACA, and I wanted to help

a little bit on the side. And I said, "Maybe we could start some chapters

here in Florida,"which we did. I did that.

K: I have a question mark by our first insufficient transcript. It said, and

I quote, according to you, "I was full of all kinds of idealisms about cam-

paign management, about how you treat people, of how you pay people in

campaigns, and I was incompatible with Gurney and his number one man."

In reference to Senator Gurney's problems now in 1975, can you amplify

that, if you're talking about Jim Group.

S: I wasn't talking about Jim Group, because Jim Group wasn't on the scene then.

This was earlier. Charlie Martin was on the scene. But you could almost--

the same thing happened. Ed Gurney is a very egotistical person, unique in

that area, and also avaricious as can be. And the new method was, at'least

what I was raised, I believe in it, the training was that you pay people,

you pay them well for their services. Because you expect people in politics

to give more than eight hours to you. More than ten hours. You expect them

to live in their campaign, to be totally devoted and loyal to the candidate,

to the cause. And you just have to pay them sufficiently so that they don't

have to worry about money. If you're parsimonious about it, they'll need to

supplement it or they'll go on to something else. And if they're worth having

in the position, they're worth being paid. And you just have, that's your...

I feel the same way in business. You've got to pay people well for what they


K: So you left Gurney's campaign...

S: Well, Gurney's campaign--let me give it to you as it happened -.Gurney's

opponent was through after a few weeks.

K: Because of illness.

S: No, because of the fact he couldn't beat Gurney, and realized it. So he with-

drew from the race. So Gurney was without, without a challenge. ACA was still

going to pay me through the election. Mfe~pin was caught up in...was very much

caught up with Kirk. It was the only place to go, so he was devoting all of

his time in the Kirk campaign. And so was C?) working in the

campaign. So Bob Lee and I attended a meeting, some kind of a dinner, in Ft.

Lauderdale, at Pier 66, and then at that time I had formed these chapters.

I formed one in Jacksonville, one in Pensacola, and one in Ft. Lauderdale, and

a statewide group as well, and another I volunteered to help. And Bob Lee met

me and put me in...asked me to come before him and go to Pinellas County where

they're having a lot of trouble.

K: Yes. And what kind kind of trouble was there in Pinellas County?

S: The trouble was that the establishment, the senior party, was lukewarm towards

Kirk, and very lukewarm toward the Kirk organization which was composed of


K: This would've been Kramer?

S: Right. Kramer ran the party in Pinellas County like a 'I~t with an

iron hand. And we were, the poll in the St. Pete Times showed -us to be about

twenty thousand votes behind Robert King High at that particular point. Now

whether that was true or not that's what we had to see. That's what we saw

and that's what we read about.

K: And...so you went to Pinellas County?

S: Yes.

K: Now, let's go and talk a bit about Kirk, and his getting the nomination in

1966. It's quite clear from what you said before and from what I know that

Governor Kirk had nothing to do with the party mechanism--what went on in

Tampa, the Young Trustees Group, or even Charles Holly. And all of a sudden,

he gets the nomination. What kind of pressure did that place?

S: First of all, the Kirk people, Kirk and Bob Lee will tell you that they were

the ones that put Mephin in if you'd sit and talk with them. They'll tell

you this. They'll say that because he was the candidate, people would say,

"Claude, who do you want to be state chairman?", and he'd say, "I want Bill

Me"ikn." (jeA I tS c6.s s+ .

K: Was he 0+ 'To Governor Kirk?

S: No, no.

K: Was Bob Lee a-eaRaada

S: No. They.. don't recall them being there. I know Kirk wasn't there. BOb--

I don't recall Bob Lee being there. I certainly would recall that. No, they

were not involved in this race at all. It couldn't have been done--there's no

one that could've walked into this thing and done it because this had to be


done in advance. All this took months and months of work, and Kirk wasn't

even in this, in the country when we started with all of this...

K: Right, he had...

S: ...but...

K: ...in France.

S: ...he was, he was our candidate.

K: How did he get to be the candidate?

S: 'Cause he was the superior candidate. He made the speeches, he had the appear-

ance. We had two other people running against him, Muldrew of Brevard, and

Dr. Myers of Ft. Myers. And the Youn Republicans would've gone with Myers.

Paul Myers was a very likeable person, and he was the one we liked, till Kirk

came on the scene. And Kirk knows hok td, h e came to our convention


K: To the May meeting...

S: Well, no to the Young Republicans.

K: To the Young Republicans meeting?

S: Yes. The Young Republican :State Meeting was either in Ocala or Gainesville.

I get mixed up which city it was in. It was in one of those cities. I think

it was Ocala. I'm not sure about that. But, anyway, wherever it was, he came

in there and he came in in a blaze of glory.

K: And this would've been still...

S: That was prior to the state...

K: To the state election.

S: ...election, sure.

K: Would've been sometime very early in 1965.

S: Right. Well, I was national committeeman for the 6 1 /\

and so I was active in that and we were all there. And Kirk was a charming


K: Just having gotten off the boat.

S: Yeah. He came there with a couple of cases of premium whiskey, and won every-

body over. ...I mean he had the Young Republicans in his pocket. And they

had \ 4 4- 4A P _p and that gave him momentum. And he, and he

really ror n rd (eat'... he had...nobody that could really stand up to

these things. So and then he had run before, and his name was first in the

alphabet. This is a factor in a primary. Anyway he won and he was a candi-

date. So,..

K: Then, once the candidate, and then all of a sudden it's not Hayden Burns, it's

Robert King High and that changes...

S: Everything.

K: ...everything. Can you elaborat4n some of those changes?

S: Well, there was a movement to have Kirk withdraw as a candidate and be replaced

by Bill Kramer.

K: Do you, can you document as fact that Bill Kramer went to Claude Kirk and asked

him to withdraw?

S: No. I can't. I was not close with him at the time to __.

like that, but I....

K: But this is common knowledge that this occurred?

S: Yes.

K: Is...in the rumors that went around about this meeting, is there any suggestion

that Mr. Kramer offered Mr. Kirk anything for it--money, position, othertJi'

S: I don't know whether he d1-t COUj d hparkd was in a position to do

it. I'm sure it was handled in such a way that it would be hard to get a direct

quote on either side of it. You know how people are in politics. They pro-

bably d ro p Clor~ r,.L windows on both sides of it. T e rr o hwn.c,

offered to give Kirk his filing fee back. They probably appealed to him on

his sense of party loyalty, "Look Claude, you can't win. You're an unknown,

but I can win, and I've got the experience," and all that sort of thing.

Probably something like that.


K: Do you think ithappened?

S: I do think it happened, yes.

K: Is that common,,common acceptance or common wisdom that...

S: I don't know about that. I just, I just feel that it happened. It makes,

makes sense for it to happen. And I've heard it from too many people who

were around in...

K: Around both Kirk and Kramer n CQ- Bill Msrpafr?

S: Yeah, yeah.

K: Bill Mp n says it happened, ,4 se. 50 Wgell k a I/ Woc f l-p/i rFi,

S: Yes, I think so.

K: Okay, with Robert King High in, and...Claude Kirk in, Bill Kramer out, at this

point in time, the...in your meeting with--having first met Governor Kirk

r Efer ~'frO "i4e 5 nt'p in 1964, was this meeting in Ocala in '66.

I have much of this material from our previous interview, so Itm not going

to necessarily repeat all of that unless you want to.

S: No.

K: But I am kind of interested in just a few items. First, was the issue of

your own campaign in 1966, -you put your name up. Excuse me, in 1967, after

reapportionment, you ran for the legislature in Dade County, at the same

time that you were helping to work for Ken Plant from Orlando. And in our

previous interview you suggested that reapportionment created a tremendous

pressure because you had to find field and find new candidates for offices

and so on. And I'd like to explore that just a little bit further, and by

re-asking you a question that I asked you before and I want to get at it


S: Sure, sure.

K: ...to make sure I really understand it. You did double duty, in other words,

running as a candidate and: running somebody else's race...Mr. Plant's.

First of all, what was wrong with Ken Plant's race that you needed to be

called in?

S: Personality clashes between his father and--Bob Lee sent a woman up there,

Rita Traver, who worked in the campaign ( for Bob and Bob felt

that she was a pro to go in there where she had a conflict with Ken's father

and there was another person in there. They were all mixed up in each other.

They couldn't get along and they fought....

Tape II, side II

K: Let me, let me get at the point about this Plant issue that concerns me in

'67 when you went to help out after reapportionment with Plant's race in

Orlando. Orlando's a very good Republican area. There wasn't any problem,

GOP faction problem, left over from May at the International Hotel between

anybody. H or...

S: No.

K: ...Gurney or Kramer. Anybody getting in the way of this I ,. O

S: No it wasn't that.

K: ...was it just internal weakness.

S: It was internal weakness and the fact that Kenny was a neophyte, and the son

of a pretty well-to-do man, but not a very prominent person in the town. He

made some money but he wasn't part of the establishment. Kenny was running

against Be?+h4 Johnson, who's was a political fixturethere. A very tough

race. And my--the reason Dade County was unimportant by comparison, because

here we had a chance to...elect a senator, and our chances in Dade were very

modest. Although we should of elected people in Dade County, if they'd done

what I suggested that they do there they would've elected somebody that time,

but they didn't do it.

K: Let's recapsulize a very important question that lead to some very interesting

conversation in our last butchered tape. I asked you a question at this point

in time. This problem can also be turned around and looked at another way.

The fact that you had to do double duty, running as a candidate and running

somebody else's race. Could this have meant, in a political sense, that the

Republican Party had come too far too fast, by 1967? That there wasn't enough

money, that there weren't enough candidates, that you've been too successful

too quick. In other words, is it possible that Governor Kirk's election...

S: Came too early.

K: ...in '66 just came too early?

S: Oh, it certainly did that. We...in our wildest dreams, we never suggested for

a moment that we'd be electing a governor in Florida. We used to speak and
It ( u S "-...
say we're gonna elect, the party whth-we elected in Georgia, Bo Callaway,

would be a great victory for the conservative cause in the South. We never

dreamed we had a chance here to win. We didn't have the party apparatus set

up. We didn't, we really as a party, did not make that great a contribution

to Claude Kirk's campaign. Now, we just have to be fair about it. We say

that he didn't contribute to Merhin4's campaign, which is true. We must
(t 0crp;A
also say that we didn't contribute a whole lot to his. Now, Ierphi worked

hard and I worked hard and a few other dozen people did, but the party didn't

say to Kirk, "All right, here's 150,000 mailing labels for you. Here is

twenty thousand dollars, or here is an organization in sixteen counties." We

had nothing like that. We had a party that was just, just there in name.

We had people in major counties where we only had maybe thirty-five or forty

activists. So the party wasn't at the point where they could have a dop,

I with the governor. So when Kirk was elected, we couldn't really

go to him with a clear conscience and say, "The party made you. You are a

Republican first," because he really wasn't a Republican first. I mean, if

he had been, he wouldn't have been elected probably. He was really a man

of the demo-Kirks and part of the Republicans and, but mainly the independent

voter in the state. The people who were terrified by the threat of...Bob

King High.

K: Okay. Let's, let's explore that two, two different angles if we can. First

of all, what was the game plan after you got the party chairmanship? When

did you expect to elect a governor?

S: Four years later. We expected to have the years to raise some money and to

build an organization. Have the field staff. Have a newspaper. Have regular

meetings. Integrate the services of the Filjida Federation of Republican

Women. Involve the Young Republicans into one big, happy family. Break bread

with those people who were worth breaking bread with in the past. Replace the

ones that weren't, and go on from there. And find people to run for offices on

a lower level, rather than on the statewide level. In other words, we had some

very fertile areas in which to work in Florida. In Pinellas and in Orange

County, and in...we, we had the philosophy. But, we realized the importance

of a major office, but we really never dreamed that we'd have anything before

1970. So, it was early, and we, many of the people who were on that first team

left the team. It's a little bit like ACA. We did a great thing with ACA, really

we did. In Duval County, I created an organization at the head table, and

I'll never forget it. I had the Democrat state committeeman and I had the

Republican state committeeman at the same meeting in the same cause. Now that

had a lot of promise, held a lot of promise. But we couldn't stay with ACA

because we left to do other things, our leaders, and so ACA just sort of fell

by the way side. It wasn't our style to allow things to, you know, fall by.

the way side, but we had no choice here. We just had to go on with other

challenges. People became involved in government, they were really the workers

in the party, and had to give up their partisan roles. And as a result, some-

one else came along. I really, it would've been a lot better if we'd had four

more years, really it would've been.

K: Is this what you meant, and just for purposes of amplification, the second

question, I'm quoting you now,- "When we took over the mechanism of the party,

we were not realistic in our thinking." "In my naivete," you said, to go on,

"in thinking that Republicans were better than Democrats in that period of

time." Did this create any problems, you talked about inexperience, you

talked about naivete, a lack of realism. Is this part of the problem, that

you really didn't have anybody who could counteract this overwhelming suc-

cess in Kirk's election? Was this the problem, in other words?

S: Well, ILthink it was part of it. We had people in office that were there

for other reasons in our party. We were, we found a difference of opinion,

a difference of philosophy. We weren't getting things done. Reapportionment

did give Claude Kirk a veto power which was used over and over again. But,

we didn't have the...we didn't have the right person sitting at the right

hand of the governor ever. We did for a few months. When Merphin was in

Tallahassee during the early days of the Kirk administration we had the

smoothest operation that you'd ever see, and it was great rapport, great

understanding. You must remember the Republicans would be reading hostile

press about Kirk over and over again. M!_pititf was the one who said, "Now

look, keep faith. The man's doing this, the man is doing that." He was...

you know, he was our person on the scene. We had faith in Bill. Kirk had

his set of people who were telling him how bad the.Republicans were. Tom

Ferguson, his aide, would constantly fan these C\Ad0L 5 and say,

"Governor, you don't need those people. You won without them." And this

was the sort of thing. If we had had some of our, our sensible people

there with the governor, around the governor, we could of, we could of, in

spite of the time being a little bit off base, we could of probably built a

very effective organization. It's...it's a tragic thing to see what happened

really, because Kirk could've gone on to so many other things.

K: Right. Let me ask you a couple of very direct questions, because when we first

met, when we first'talked, you said I could ask you anything I wanted, and

I want to ask you some direct questions. Number one, Governor Kirk had some

weaknesses. What were they?

S: Ego, probably. One of the biggest ones. He...probably, probably liquor.

Probably love of life. He likes to travel in a flamboyant style with flam-

boyant personalities. He worked very diligently in his office. He, goodness,

I don't think the state of Florida has ever had a chief executive officer who

devoted more of his life tothe job. He had a tremendous amount of energy.

He...twenty hour days were not unusual for him. He played, but he worked hard


K: I asked you a question before and I want to ask it again. Did you see any of

these problems during the campaign, before the campaign? You had met Governor


S: Oh, yes, sure.

K: ...a long time before.

S: Sure.

K: How about--were there other people who saw these problems beginning t) Oc ur

S: Oh, yes! Yes, we didn't think--we didn't think, we had...we were for the

governor, but he was...he hadn't changed any. He was just about on the

campaign trail the way he was in Tallahassee. Just a different type of per-

sonality. He's...we knew, you know, we took a, discounted some of his words,

you know, from +me 'o +imt ,.

K: The last time you said, and we talked about this campaign, and I quote you

again, "He was in this thing with a sort of last hurrah situation, and we

realized that alot of times he said things that he wasn't at all sincere


S:A TJe Wt hI +- papers would be an example of this. I don't think he knew

what was in those (J)h'+g papers any more than any of us who tried to decipher

what was in them. It was sort of a hoax-type of thing. He knew the position

paper. It was really a situation where the Democrats made a terrible blunder

in nominating a man that was so far to the left, at least in image, that they

could not blame the, they could not not expect the Democrat voters in the

state to blrae-fhe bd1 Fe\\) 1Wo a 4bcr{ (cad.

K: What did you mean by a last hurrah situation?

S: Well, I felt that if Kirk, we said this many times during the campaign, he'd

either be the governor or he'd be on the streets, so to speak, because his

business ties were questionable, what remained. And I don't mean to blaspheme

him at all, but he's just a, he...he had everything going in this race, and,

as we say, just like in our little race for the state chairmanship, you either

win or you lose. And if you lose, you lose. Doesn't matter how close you

come. You have to get that position. When he won I don't think he really

knew what he had, nor did any of us. I'll never forget the telegram nis got

from Ashe Fc\pcfAe. r^ cose T rnp'hp nc 4 -z

before s- 1sAP lpr- (~vO 'r was probably his dearest friend from

Jacksonville. One of the first telegrams that came in said, "Good God, Claude,

what do we do now?" You know, after he won it. That was about it.

K: You also made a statement that l-*ep challenged some of the things that Kirk

did. Where were their conflicts?

S: With appointments. Oh, early...

K: How about some specifics? Oh-) it's not really fair to ask you 'Se? kiAdo.o ..

S: Well, I can't say that I know the appointment of some of his major aides left

something to be desired. But, all governors seen to do this. I've seen it

with Ruben Askew. I've been close enough to this administration to see it.

I see the same type of people assuming these positions. Their names are dif-

ferent. Their accents a little different, but they have the same strengths

and same weaknesses. What, probably both governors, Kirk and Askew, one mis-

take they made is they haven't had a senior person. You really need a seasoned

veteran to be, as an advisor. I think Nixon's made the mistake. Certainly

Gurney's made the mistake. You need someone who knows a little bit more about

life. 'Cause if you give somebody, too early in life, that type of power, that

type of influence, they're not prepared for it. I've seen too muchAreckage


K: You also made the statement that in Pinellas County, Democrats worked harder

for Kirk than Republicans.

S: Oh, yes indeed.

K: And that continued all the way through the campaign?

S: Well, I felt that it did. I saw it there first hand.

K: When you were there?

S: Yes... When I wanted something done I went to several of the people that were

the Democrats and got it done. The party just wasn't quite ready, because

they're waiting for Bill Kramer to say, "All right. Go ahead. Give it more

than tokenism," and he never said it. We did all right in Pinellas County.

But it was because, again it was not because of any great super strategy on

our part. I must say that.

K: Did Hayden Burns ever contact Bill MerpT n about working and Burns, not just

Burns' people, but Burns himself? Did he ever contact.. .Mesp~ n?

S: I'm sure he did.

K: About working for Kirk?

S: Yeah. Burns helped us tremendously.

K: In what ways?

S: With people. I was in a room and we got on the telephone in Pinellas County,

and Jerry Murphy, who's one of the commissioners over there at the time, and

a Democrat, talked with him right in our presence. He was very interested in

the campaign, how's it going. A lot of the Burns people were with Kirk right

from the beginning. Not a lot of them, most of them.

K: Money?

S: Everything. Money, time. They knew how to do the job. We didn't know how to

do the job. We had great people. They've got the signs. They knew where to

put, you know, the people, allow the signs to be put up on their property.

And people who'd provide the wood to make the signs, and people that'S drive

menAwomen to the polls. They were a tremendous factor in the campaign.

And they were forgotten quickly, too.

K: I don't want to--don't see the need to repeat any of the material dealing with

the 1968 issue of Kirk's putting Gary Cir;npllnei (?e. ? us- Paula

Hawkins, or about the slate material. I think we have that all pretty well,

pretty well done in terms of completing out this tape from the rest of it.

But, I am interested in something about the issue of Governor Kirk's so-called

vice-presidency, when he, of course, he went out to support Nelson Rockerfeller.

But prior to that, I'm wondering if you ever heard the story that at Kirk's

inauguration, in which Richard Nixon, private citizen attended in 1966, that

Mr. Nixon either told Governor Kirk or Governor Kirk's father-in-law through

his first wife, that he was going to put Kirk on the ticket with him in '68?

Have you ever heard that story?

S: No.

K: Does it surprise you?

S: No, it doesn't surprise me, because there's an awful lot of talk, eel~aa -im

K: But you never heard those kinds of rumors?

S: Not that kind of a rumor, no. I know this, that there was quite a bit of

conjecture about Kirk, 'cause Kirk became the hero of the South with his

election to governorship. He was the first Republican governor for a long

time in the South. Mefphi! became a leader among the state chairmen of the

South. We were very much a part of that thing. They were, they're good

people. They...there was an awful lot of work done that Kirk wasn't even

aware of with the people who were going to be part of that convention in '68,

on behalf of Kirk. But you see, Kirk started seeking the nomination by going

all over the place speaking, and by flying all kinds of...hundreds of thousands

of dollars worth of jet fuel, and by having brash aides that with the walky

talkies and with the other mechanisms...he really did himself a great disservice

Honestly, if he had just cooled it a little bit, and been a good governor, with

...geography being what it is, with his appearance and his speaking ability,

his philosophy...honestly, he could've been sitting /(?

And you know what that led to, all of it. And it's not at all out of the

realm. It was there, honest to goodness, that's part of the way...

K: I want to explore this just a little bit further. In your first interview

you said, "Bill Metppn had done so much work to help the southern chairmen.

Honest to goodness, we had the support-of the southern chairmen for him,

meaning Kirk, for the vice-presidency." How, when you talk about support,

was this an issueight away in 1966? I mean was it that obvious?

S: Oh, no. This didn't happen immediately. It's something that built-up.

You must understand that when these men get together they have their routines

and their administrative details... Let's stop this thing a minute.

They spend a lot of time talking about presidential politics, and through

the wee small hours they'll talk about this person and that person and come

up with different dream tickets. There's a philosophical comrades' spirit

with the southern states. They've been a block. They've been overlooked a

lot in both parties in the past, but their time has come. In importance and

as a block they could really project, they could influence either of the

candidates. Certainly Nixon. Because to have a man with the qualities of

Kirk from the South available would be a good thing, you know. And it made

a lot of sense, it was logical, and it developed. The only thing with these

rumors and stories and all the bad press about Kirk, you know, which turned,

them off. The Kirk's thing with Rockerfeller was a shockerto-all of us.

I thifk you have that on...

K: Yes, we have that on your, on the first tape. There is one thing on this tape

that I'm kind of interested in, and that is that you, because of some blow-

ups that we have already talked about with the competing slates in 1968 and

so on, you had wanted to go to the national convention, and you were looking

forward to going because Mrs. Maytag was going to be there. You made the

statement that the president's brother, Don Nixon, invited you to be his per-

sonal guest. Had you, what was your relationship with either one of the


S: Well, Don Nixon was working for a food company. I was director of the turn-

pike, and the food company wanted to be our concessionaire on ov0 S.9_QtL

of the restaurants of the Florida Turnpike. That's how I met him. He was

essentially a P.R. man, a very affable and agreeable person. There wasn't

any way we were going to do business with him because unfortunately, the

company he represented wasn't of the quality of the fOrr i6* ,

And, nevertheless, I did get to know Don and some of his friends and we did

go to the convention and stay with the Kansas delegation on the floor so that

we could participate, my wife and I. And then we went to the Nixon family

hospitality suite, and invited some of the Floridians to come up. You know,

I was inviting them, you know. I had to stay away from the Doral where we

were meeting, because I was embarrassing to Governor Kirk. Because I would've

been a Nixon--I would probably have been for Reagan. If I had had my druthers,

I would've been for Ronald Reagan, no question about it. And that was part of

the deal, you know. Mrs. Maytag was for Reagan. A lot of the people that we

helped get involved, including Me=pbin, just sort of forgotten about Reagan in

the I ) That was very disappointing to Marquita. She hasn't

forgiven a number of the people, because she had a different relationship with

these people. Some of them were very dear friends, and they just didn't keep

their commitment to he. But that's, that's life, you know. People do change.

But, I suggested to Don Nixon that he become associated with the Mariott people,
\\ h v'aCdone. oP
because that was really the -ffi company which e-had done, but


K: You have an interesting poetic ending on the first tape about thinking about...

the potential history of the Republican Party rather than the actual history

if Kirk had been different in philosophy, and I don't think we really explored

that. What would have been different? This has got nothing to do with what

would be in the book. If Governor Kirk had been a different kind of a man,

if he hadn't been so abrasive, if he had been a party Republican, if he had,

he'd been--well, just leave it at that. A different kind of a man.

S: I just thought about that the other day, as a matter of fact. I was thinking

about you coming here, and I thought about it. And there was so much promise

there, you see, because peopleare hungry for leadership. This recent up-

heav4l in the Florida legislature just last week would show you that.

K: Ur, hum.

S: They, you can't talk down to people. You can't recruit them after you beat

them into a corner, and remove their dignity. You have to do it another way.

Kirk had a mandate, a substantial victory. Not a little victory, a big

victory. One of the biggest victories in our history at that point. Here

he was, a Republican, and he had two hands, you know. He had people on that

cabinet that he was very compatible with, or could've been, or should've been.

Bud Dickinson, Doyle Conner, you know. Natural allies. He didn't develop

those things. He got into battles with them, right from the beginning. The

legislators--I know in dealing with legislators as an agency head I had no

problem. I had some initially till I qualified myself. I had to qualify my-

self. You have to expect that. You must. You're new, you're a different

party, I mean, you're young, is he a pay-off guy or is he bright enough to

learn the job. You have to prove yourself and you can't be critical because

they ask these questions. You can't get brittle about it or abrasive. Some

of Kirk's people became abrasive like O'Neal, and so instead of using their

brains where they could've won converts, they didn't. Kirk did a lot of

things with his agencies. There were a lot of deficiencies that were created.

There's an awful lot of room for improvement, because you had a situation where

you were replacing a whole series of Democratic governors that had their

various cronies, and pals, and relatives placed in one agency after another.

And it's got to the point where a new governor would come in, but he couldn't

tamper with so and so because that was Hayden's man, or that was Farris's man,

or that was LeRoy's man. And I don't say that disparagingly, but we just had

several..layers of people like that. We were able to be fresh and imaginative

and clean house. We were guarded about it because we didn't want to be with-

out compassion. We wanted to be sensible, and we were constantly aware of the

focus on us, you know, so we were f nuP. QC' p [tf,. about

it. Most of us. Some of the people weren't. But, Kirk is a convincing person.

When you meet him and interview him you'll be very impressed with him, I know.

You'll find him to be eaimated and very...in great depth, you know, bright.

He has all the charm, and he wants that charm. He can charm you whether you

be Nelson Rockerfeller or, you know, an Arab. I mean, he's got that ability.

He's done it, in his finest hours he's been unsurpassed. And he's been down

to the drags, too, the same people. He could have...he could've supported

good people for public office. He did with some of them. He could've brought

together a brain trust if he had not had these narrow-viewed aides.

K: You're talking about people like, ()

S: Yeah.

K: Tom Ferguson?

S: Um, hum. Shallow.

K: There's an awful lot to write about that was controversy about Governor Kirk.

There's a lot that one could write about even without doing a hatchet job, which

I have no intention of doing...

S: No.

K: ...that was wrong with Governor Kirk's administration those years. A lot of

conflict, a lot of problems. What was right? What went right from your point

of view, sitting on the turnpike authority, being in that administration hak _QEc fb

S: I guess the thing that impressed me the most about it is I had two major appoint-

ments from Governor Kirk without any strings whatsoever. I was director of the

turnpike. He never asked for a thing. We never got a call about buying a

product from anybody, or hiring anybody particularly. Oh, maybe a couple of

clerks. We had a few people in little jobs. But my big jobs, I filled myself.

Our contracts we filled on the merits of the contract. We had very honest

authority. When I became secretary of the department of Professional and

Occupational Regulation, we had all the licensing boards. Never one -time.

did the governor call me or a key person of the governor call me and say,

"So and so took a test. How did he do? or "So and so should be on this

board or that board." I never had any of that. Never saw any of that. So

that's good honest government. And I was in a position to see it, you know,

and I didn't see any flaws like that. That was good. He was a challenger.

He was the devil's advocate or whatever you want to call it. He was refresh-

ing. He shook the trees. It was like...you know, I think he's missed. He's

got to be missed. He had his share of poor appointments. I think every

governor has that problem. We see it today. But he, he tried to do a lot

quickly and he didn't protect his flank. He said what he believed as he felt

it all the time. Most of the people in politics don't do that. I learned

that in a hurry. I learned it from O\\ 0R- tiG. Democrats. You'll

think that they're your dearest friends, dearest friends. They have all the

charm, and all the polish, and all the abilities, and they, they just, you

know, smile and then they go on to do something else. And it's just the method.

I guess maybe it's smooth if you go to Washington and talk with either party,

Republicans,or even in Tallahassee for that matter. The real pros are pros.

And you must remember we were not pros, and Kirk was not a pro. He was a brash

executive. He made a lot of money in a hurry. He made it through his tenacity,

through his own personal charm and wit, and intelligence, and he was that type

of governor. He put some of us in positions where we could bring honor to him,

and bring glory to the administration, and he didn't tamper with us. Some of

the people that he...put in some of these positions were not of the same stuff.


K: Who were his strongest appointments' people?

S: Nat Reed was a very good appointment, and Charlie my of the

Turnpike Authority was a good appointment. I think that Don Michaeljohn was

a good appointment. I think Jay io ticc /It';l was a very good appointment.

K: Who were some of the poor appointments? ILn f Opft )"

S: Mike O'Neal, Jack Cashin, very poor, very poor appointments. I'd have to really

go back into some of them, you know, it's been a long while.

K: Sure, that's perfectly understandable.

S: But...I think that Jim Backs was probably a very fair appointment, that was

health, the Board of Health.

K: Something....

S: I think his judges, some of his judges were excellent. I think some of his

grass root appointments were outstanding. He never really got a lot of credit

for that. 5LE r14iV Wilson in Brevard County, Q f c0 a s-ar-

K: One question that I've asked everybody else that I've interviewed, including

Ash Ferlander, who I've talked to that I forgot to ask you. Now is a good time

to do it. If you were going to interview Governor Kirk, and you were going to

ask a question or two, what would be the most important thing you'd want to

find out from Governor Kirk if you were going to sit and interview him, knowing

what you know from your perspective?

S: Well, I'd like to know at this point, what he'd do over, what he would've done

over if he could start again. I would surely like to know what he felt were

the most significant accomplishments of his administration. The flaws in it.

Those would be IcI'icA questions, I think. He'll have a thousand little

stories that he can give us that few of us thought about, you know, that I

would be enlightening. He's...he's a man that's been, you know, how can I

tell you? You know, he's gotten so much criticism for being flamboyant and

brash and such a high liver which, you know, these things are true, but he

gave a lot. For instance, I used the example of Mike Thompson, because I

think it's something that I've felt over the years. Mike Thompson was

the first recipient of patronage of any Republican in modern time, because

Kirk was hardly in the office, and Mike Thompson was hired to work for

Wackenhut in the war on crime.Mike was a candidate for Congress in Dade

County. You'll probably meet him somewhere along the way or you'll hear

about it. He's been a perennial candidate since (2) And then Mike

wanted to run again for Congress, and Kirk opened an office in Washington,

and put Mike in there as our man in Washington which is a badly needed

thing. Governor Askew has it now to help with the federal patronage and
liason with the congressional delegation. Kirk got blistered one side and

up the other. ,\H r'-. you know. "What's this man doing?

How much is he doing?" It was a political thing, you know. And the papers

added to it. Well Mike, received these things from Kirk. He was a big

receiver, and in 1970, when Eckerd ran against Kirk in the primary, Mike

not only worked against Kirk, but he was vituperative in my words, in my

opinion. Quite vituperative about it. To me, Kirk was good to a lot of

people without any strings. He was good to me without any strings. He made

a lot of us, including Mr. Thompson, helped Mike Thompson a lot. He didn't

really call)pI Vve 7) He raised a lot of money for the party

\ here in Florida,\and everywhere he went he raised a lot of money. ,\ g

b a t audiences with him, $100, $500, $1,000 a plate thing. As far as

I could, tell he took very little for himself ever. He did travel in a Lear

jet. He needed the Lear jet. I can argue the use of that Lear jet all over

the place, because Tallahassee's a rMi) -\ place for the state capitol,

and to have o (f .v \'ikeP Kirk would begin his day in Panama City and end

it in Key West. He needed some mode of transportation. But, he spent it on

fuel. He didn't put it in his own coffers. I think he was, in retrospect,

I think he was really more of a giver than a taker..

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