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v v CHAPTER 15 The General Election T he day after the election, I returned to my job. Wesley said he was proud of me and was happy that his sales had increased during my Senate primary. He continued his support and encouraged me. I called everyone who had helped in the primary. They were all eager to help defeat Bob Price in November. With the primary over, the Democratic county chairmen could help. When I had visited the Democratic county chairs before, they had all promised their help if I won the primary. Now it was over. Speaker Clayton called to congratulate me and offered to help me raise money from groups in Austin. Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby called with the same offer. I told them I could win if I could raise enough funds for an aggressive advertising campaign. A few checks arrived in the mail. I decided to spend them on the bus signs. They were my best buy for building name recognition. At a meeting with my key supporters, I got commitments for several fundraisers. I was ready to hit the road again. I had seven long months of campaigning ahead of me, and I was up against a political powerhouse. Driving to all twenty-­ seven counties, I thanked all those voters who had cast their ballots for me. I stopped at each small and large business and expressed my thanks to the owners and their employees. I also visited the Democratic chairmen in each county, promising that the money I raised in each county would be spent in that county. They loved that idea. All too often, the campaign money that they had helped raise was spent on Amarillo media and not in their local counties. I said that 152 • The Grand Duke from Boys Ranch Amarillo would be responsible for Amarillo. Obviously, Price could and would outspend me. I had to stretch every campaign dollar. In the Thirty-­ First District, about 30 percent of voters would vote a straight Democratic ticket, and about 30 percent would vote straight Republican. I had to convince the uncommitted voters to support me. I found a small vacant storefront across the street from the Amarillo National Bank that had been empty for several months, so the rent was cheap. I got some folding tables and chairs and made a big sign to hang in the window. Now I had my own campaign headquarters, complete with a telephone. There were no computers at that time. I had some name recognition because I had won the primary, but Bob Price was a household name. One of the best things I did to raise awareness about me and my goals was to design football schedules with my logo on the front. On the inside left of the brochure was the local town’s high school football schedule, and on the right side was a picture of David, Donna, and me along with my stated campaign goals. On the back was the Dallas Cowboys’ football schedule. Football in Texas is a religion, so this was a really smart move. Gathering the high school football schedules for so many towns was extremely time-­ consuming, but it was time well spent. During my campaign visits to each town, I put the cards next to every cash register in every store I visited. They were a wild success. Speaker Clayton organized a fundraiser for me in Austin, which was a great opportunity for me to meet lobbyists as well as elected officials. It was very successful. Speaker Clayton gave me a wonderful introduction , and my speech went over well. Many of the attendees were previous supporters of Bob Price, and they had to be careful not to offend Price or jeopardize their relationship with the Speaker, who backed me. Each town had a parade and celebration in the summer, and many fell on the same weekend. So I focused on the most highly populated towns and on the towns where Price had a lot of support. I had been advised not to waste my time in those towns that Price always carried, but I decided to work those even harder. My first parade was in Turkey, Texas, on Bob Wills Day. Bob Wills, a Turkey native, was a famous country singer and the father of western swing. For the parade, I joined about ten other elected officials inside a cotton trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor. The cotton trailer was The General Election • 153...


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