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238 Chapter 13 Raging Bulls, 1956-59 A Silent Death On January 28, 1956, Gov. Paul Patterson announced he would seek the Repub­ lican nomination for U.S. Senate in Oregon’s May primary. Party leaders had been cajoling him to do this for months; finally, the governor relented. GOP leaders were still smarting over the loss of Guy Cordon’s Senate seat to Richard Neuberger in November 1954 and they ached to put a Republican back in the Senate. On the evening of January 31, Governor Patterson went to Portland’s exclusive Arlington Club for a meeting with his campaign advisors. Seated on a couch in an upstairs lounge, without warning, the governor “silently slumped back on the couch, unconscious. Before a hastily summoned physician could administer effective aid, Patterson died.”1 The GOP’s best hope to defeat Wayne Morse was gone. Oregonians were shocked by Patterson’s sudden death, the second time in nine years that a Republican governor had died in office. The next day, Republican Elmo Smith, president of the Oregon Senate (next in line of succession to the governor) was sworn in as the state’s new chief executive. TwoprominentRepublicanswererecruitedwithinweekstofillthevoidinthe Senate race caused by Patterson’s death: Philip S. Hitchcock and Lamar Tooze, a Portlandattorney.PhilHitchcockwasamoderate-progressiveRepublicanreputed to be one of the legislature’s most persuasive speakers. He’d recently resigned his state Senate seat to take an administrative position at Portland’s Lewis and Clark College. His supporters believed that the popular urban Republican would give Wayne Morse a strong race. Hitchcock appealed to many of the same interest groups as Morse, notably labor, public power advocates, and students. Phone Calls in the Night About 2 a.m. on Friday, March 9, Phil Hitchcock and Lamar Tooze were awakened by back-to-back phone calls. The mysterious caller was Douglas McKay. Raging Bulls, 1956-59 239 McKay had served in the Eisenhower Cabinet as Secretary of the Interior, for the previous three years. At 62, the popular former governor was the titular head of Oregon’s Republican Party. On Monday, March 5, journalist A. Robert Smith had spoken with McKay in Washington about whether he was considering a run for the Senate seat held by Wayne Morse. McKay told Smith that, no, he would leave such a tough race to a younger man. Within hours McKay was summoned to breakfast with a couple of Ike’s top advisors. “So, two days before the Oregon [primary] filing deadline, Sherman Adams [Eisenhower’s chief-ofstaff ] gave McKay a poll which showed that McKay’s support among Oregon voters was in the mid-40s [percentile], Morse’s in the mid-30s.”2 Adams was adamant: the party needed him to go after Wayne Morse. McKay listened, then told his colleagues he would go home and sleep on the idea. Twenty hours later, 11 a.m. Thursday, Doug McKay conferred with President Eisenhower about the Oregon Senate race. McKay, the loyal party man, said he would leave the administration to run for the Senate. That afternoon , using a false name, McKay boarded a plane for Portland. Under the cover of darkness, he quietly checked into the Multnomah Hotel in downtown Portland, also under an assumed name. Hours later, Doug McKay made his phone calls to Phil Hitchcock and Lamar Tooze, asking them to meet with him in his suite for breakfast. Both agreed to do so. During breakfast, McKay told them that he was driving to Salem that afternoon to file for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Tooze agreed to pull out of the race. Hitchcock told McKay he was staying in the race and if he was going to win the GOP Senate nomination he’d have to go through Phil Hitchcock to do it. Republican leaders swung into action. Wendell Wyatt, chairman of the Republican Party of Oregon, along with William L. Philips of Salem, McKay’s closestpoliticaladvisor,triedtotalkMcKayoutof running.JessGard,Republican National Committeeman, disagreed, arguing for McKay to stay in the race. The resulting Hitchcock-McKay contest drove a wedge right down the middle of the Republican Party. Phil Hitchcock’s supporters were incensed. They were angry with the White House for meddling in Oregon politics. His friends resented the way Doug McKay had snuck into Oregon at the last minute. To them, Phil Hitchcock had been stabbed in the back by his conservative rivals. Hitchcock had an uphill battle on his hands. He had never run for statewide office but...


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