Ann Lower

Duration: 59Mins 55Secs
Please read and accept the disclaimer below to continue.


I have read and accept the terms of the disclaimer.

The Houston Oral History Project is a repository for the stories, accounts, and memories of those who have chosen to share their experiences. The viewpoints expressed in the Houston Oral History Project do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the City of Houston, the Houston Public Library or any of its officers, agents, employees, or volunteers. The City of Houston and the Houston Public Library make no warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the interviews and expressly disclaim any liability therefore.

The Houston Oral History Project provides unedited versions of all interviews. Some parents may find material objectionable for minors. Parents are encouraged to interact with their children as they use the Houston Oral History Project Web site to complete research and homework activities.

The Houston Public Library retains the literary and publishing rights of its oral histories. No part of the interviews or transcripts may be published without the written permission of the Houston Oral History Project.

Requests for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to:

The Houston Oral History Project.
Houston Public Library
500 McKinney
Houston, Texas 77002

The Houston Oral History Project reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to decline to post any account received herein and specifically disclaims any liability for the failure to post an account or for errors or omissions that may occur in posting accounts to the Virtual Archive.

For more information email the Houston Oral History Project at

I have read and accept the terms of the disclaimer.

Interview with: Ann Lower
Interview by: Louis J. Marchiafava
Date: November 9, 1976
Archive Number: OH209


LM:    00:03  November 9, 1976, interview with Mrs. Ann Lower. Mrs. Lower, I’d like to begin the interview by getting some background on your selection as campaign manager. How were you selected as campaign manager for Representative Eckhardt?

AL:    When I moved to Houston, I had managed a state legislative campaign and had worked in two of the Fred Hofheinz campaigns and had done enough political work in Houston that when Eckhardt had to make that decision he consulted with a number of people, and my name was the one that came up the most frequently. The United Steelworkers was one group who had recommended me very highly, and some attorneys in the city had also made a very good recommendation.

LM:    How did you earn this reputation?

AL:    (chuckles) I’ve been very fortunate in Houston. My results have been fairly good on the organizing level, and they’ve been good because of a lot of hard work but also some luck factors.

LM:    What areas of organization were you involved in?

AL:    When I moved to Houston in 1970, I started out by organizing a precinct committeeman’s campaign, Barbara Lopez’s campaign, Precinct 39. We were considered to have no chance at all, and we won that one through block walking, just door-to-door kind of campaigning. Then I joined the Harris County Democrats, became treasurer there, and worked on a countywide basis.

LM:    When was that?

AL:    That was in 1970 also, around March 1970. Then I met Ron Waters in the Harris County Democrats, and this was in the fall of 1971. Ron was then about 21 years old, and he wanted to make a bid for the state legislature when we went to several of the districts. He wanted to run in the Montrose area and asked me to manage his campaign. So we began that fall doing the planning for it, and that was a successful bid. It was a very tough race. Russell Cummings was the opponent, and Russell had been in the state legislature before and had been elected on a countywide basis and was very well known, plus Russell had been in the state legislature when that district was drawn, and he had a great deal to do with the drawing of the lines. We fell short about 300 in the first go around, and then in the runoff by targeting and so forth we were able to beat Cummings. I then went to Austin and became Ron’s legislative assistant and got my experience there. Then he had a second race to run, and the opponent there was Jim Assad, who was another young man, very conservative, backed very much by moneyed real estate interest. In fact, Jim Assad spent about $40,000 in that campaign in just a small legislative district. That was another tough battle that we had to go through, and we came out of that one fine. Then I went to Austin again for the Constitutional Convention to finish it up, then I joined the Parks Department for the city of Houston. I did leave the Parks Department to work in Fred Hofheinz’s third campaign, his last bid, and then went back into Parks when Eckhardt called. It was a great honor for me, of course, when he did call and ask me to head up his campaign.


LM:    04:33  Had you ever worked with him before in any area?

AL:    No. I had never worked with Eckhardt at all. I had met him a few times just very briefly, like at receptions and so forth, so that one of the very interesting parts of it was our getting to know each other. And since, we have laughed. What if he had gotten someone that he couldn’t work with, because he went on the basis of a number of recommendations and made his decision on that basis and on the results that I had been able to produce in past campaigns. As it turned out, we were very compatible, so it worked out fine. But a politician does have that kind of problem if you need a campaign manager. Where you go and who you ask becomes a very important part of it.

LM:    Before we get into the campaign itself, since we had already begun discussing your qualifications and so on, what is one of the most important elements or qualities in a campaign manager? What’s necessary?

AL:    I think two things. One, you have to have some technical knowledge, particularly today. You’ve got to know something about targeting, something about polling, something about computers. Today politics has become a science, and it’s no longer— In the old days you went out and shook hands and kissed babies. Today it’s a targeting game, and you have to know where your voters are, and you have to know how to reach those who are not for you, and so you have got to develop a strategy. And along with that you’ve got to know how to coordinate production. I think coordinating production may be the most important thing in a campaign so that you can meet your deadlines but meet 10 of them at the same time. You’ve got to be able to juggle a lot of balls at one time, and each one of those balls is equally important.

LM:    06:39  You anticipated one of my questions, and it was the strategy. What was the overall strategy at the beginning of the campaign?

AL:    At the beginning of the campaign, one thing that the people felt in District 8 was that Eckhardt was a little bit distant from the district. He had been their congressman for 10 years, since 1966. And sometimes when you’ve been in Congress that long, the people kind of forget that your job is in Washington. That’s what you’re elected to do is to stay in Washington and pass legislation. So we had to go back in on the ground, calling groups and community groups together to go over that question—it was kind of an educational question—and to put Eckhardt back in touch with his constituency and also to get his constituency to understand that that was where it was really all at—in Washington. And so that was kind of the way we began the campaign on the community level. On the more issue-oriented side, in August a major piece of legislation of his was passed in the House, the Toxic Substances Control Act. That legislation became very important in the campaign, because after five years of working with labor and the chemical industry, he had gotten the support for that piece of legislation from both groups. So we went in and we brought labor and the plant managers of the chemical industries together physically when that piece of legislation passed as an example that both groups could work together so that that became another theme in the campaign:  that Eckhardt had proposed and had passed legislation which both groups could support so that he would not be isolated as a candidate that had the support only of industry or only of labor. He’s a much more complex politician than that, and we tried to get that across to the constituency.

LM:    Did you take a leadership role in devising the strategy for the campaign, or did he have some ideas of his own when y’all first got together on this?

AL:    He had a great number of ideas in the area of the press and the general kind of public relations. He’s almost a genius at it, and he has almost perfect timing. In the area of the precinct organizing and so forth, I would say that I generated more of the ideas at first. But we worked very closely together. But he is a genius at timing, on when to put forth an idea.

LM:    Do any specific examples come to mind of that?


AL:    10:01  I think the presentation of the Toxic Substances Act is one example. I think one very political example less legislative than the Toxic Substances Act is how he handled the gun control. For example, Gearhart spent a tremendous amount of money on TV trying to isolate an issue. The only issue that he ever came close to isolating was the gun control issue. We let him spend that money and let him spend and spend until finally we did need to answer it. But we could answer it in a very short period of time if we just waited and let it build, let the sentiment build for an answer. And then for a very small amount of money we could then go on TV and radio and answer it. And Eckhardt’s reputation as a very honest politician helps a great deal, because people were waiting for his answer. They know that he will play a very straight role with them. So his timing there I think was just perfect, and I think that most politicians would have been so frightened by the issue they would have rushed in, tried to raise more money, and begun an answer that was much, much too early.

LM:    Were you worried about the gun issue?

AL:    I began to be worried about the gun issue about the last week, and that’s when we just sat down and talked, and I convinced him it was time to get that answer.

LM:    He wanted to wait even longer?

AL:    Even at the beginning of that week he was not quite sure that it did need to be answered, but I had enough evidence built up from the telephone banks and from calls and so forth that it had become an issue that needed an answer. He had led the fight in Congress to exempt shotguns and rifles from gun control, and so it was a very easy issue to answer. He had been the only Texas congressman to do so, so it was a very simple answer. But he did not want to raise it as an issue earlier in the campaign because then we would have been playing in Gearhart’s field.

LM:    I noticed that Gearhart even brought in John Wayne.

AL:    Oh yes. I think that that’s been a style of politics now for maybe 10 years, and I do think it’s dying out. I don’t think that American society is geared toward the celebrity as much as they once were. I think in the ‘50s the sociologists had been correct in studying the celebrity cults and so forth, but at the ‘60s I think the celebrity images kind of died out, so I think that is not an important factor in politics anymore.

LM:    The optimism, as I understand it, that Gearhart exhibited during the campaign was that more affluent people were moving in Eckhardt’s district. Was this in fact true?

AL:    13:44  Some more affluent people were moving in Eckhardt’s district but not to the extent that Gearhart thought they were. I really have puzzled over Gearhart’s optimism. I’ve puzzled over the way he’s interpreted his polls. And generally, I would get feedback on how he was feeling about his polls and what he thought and so forth because he would talk to reporters and I would talk to reporters and it generally gets around. I was truly amazed that he was relying on the few changes that had occurred in the northern part of the county to the extent that he was, and I think that his polls must have had some built-in biases. I don’t doubt that he was giving the correct results from his polls, but I think his pollsters must have built in a bias, whereas when we took polls we went the opposite. We made it the worst. We built in negative basis. We’d poll in the white community, we’d poll in places that were bad news for us, like in the northern part of the county, for example. We wanted to know how bad it was. Of course for that reason I would never release those polls and would not today, because polls should be used for your strategy and not for releasing to newspapers to build optimism. They should be used in a scientific way. I feel that Gearhart probably had very bad advice in how to build these polls.

LM:    I know you just said that you really don’t want to go into the details of the polls. Is that correct?

AL:    Yes.

LM:    I was going to ask you some more questions about that.

AL:    If you’d like to go ahead and ask a few questions—

LM:    You can always say no.

AL:    Right.

LM:    The new residents moving into the area, do they indeed represent a threat to Eckhardt?

AL:    No, they do not. The new residents in the area are as interested in consumer issues and environmental issues as other residents—except those who are members of the Republican Party, for example. Those supporters Eckhardt will never have because they’re from different political persuasions. But in terms of the northern Harris County voter, that voter Eckhardt can reach as easily as he can reach a member of the southern part of the district.


LM:    16:41  Do you find that more the important point is whether the person is in an executive or managerial position rather than a worker’s position? Would that be a contributing factor here rather than solely income itself?

AL:    Income is the most important factor, I think, in determining political preference. And on the managerial level or supervisory level, it almost goes industry by industry. If you’re talking about the oil industry, yes, the oil industry opposed Eckhardt. If you’re talking about the chemical industry, they did not oppose Eckhardt. So it really depends on which industry you’re talking about. But income is a very important factor, and Eckhardt has been the leader in consumer issues and pricing issues and packaging issues, environmental issues, and all of the tax questions, things that hit your pocketbook he has been at the forefront of, so income is very important.

LM:    In planning your strategy, were there any particular weaknesses that you noted from your own side besides, as we already mentioned—

AL:    You mean in the beginning or afterwards?

LM:    In the beginning. There’s two parts to that. First in the beginning, did you anticipate any particular weaknesses or concerns? And later on in the campaign, were those fears reinforced?

AL:    I think one very great weakness in the beginning was that first of all I had to learn Eckhardt’s district, and his district is a very interesting one in the sense it’s made up of about 15 or 16 distinct communities. We’re talking about Channelview, Jacinto City, Deer Park, Baytown, Pasadena. All of these communities have their own identity, and you have to come to learn and understand that identity that they have. And so we did start out in a weak position in that I had to do that kind of homework to learn the identity of the communities. I would say that I still have some homework to do. I think in the southern part of the county I still have some homework to do.

LM:    Were there any significant weaknesses that you sought to play on on the opposition’s side?


AL:    19:52  Primarily, we tried to take a very positive tact in the campaign, because Eckhardt has been in for 10 years, and he is widely recognized around the nation as kind of the congressman’s congressman, the intellectual of Congress, and he’s noted for his ability as a constitutional lawyer. So we had an awful lot going for us on the positive level. Plus any time that you do go on the negative, to a certain extent you’re walking into the opponent’s field, and we tried to pretty much stay out of there. We felt pretty secure in just running on Eckhardt’s record. The only area where we never understood, and certainly it was one of the biggest weaknesses Gearhart had, is they lived in River Oaks. He always said that if elected that then he would move on the working man’s side of town. But to run in a working man’s district from River Oaks was a weakness, and of course we pointed out that fact that he did live in River Oaks and that it was just in Congress with a working man’s district.

LM:    How big of a factor was that, do you think, in the election? Did you get any feedback?

AL:    Oh, we got feedback. I don’t think that it was the factor. The factor in the election is Eckhardt’s record. That is really the factor and that people in the 8th District are not dissatisfied with his record. A lot of new people have moved in all over the district, and any time any person moves in you have to acquaint them with your congressman. This has nothing to do with political preference; it’s just a process that goes on. Many 18-year-olds today do not know who their congressman is so that we had to go into the high schools and do that kind of educational process. But I think his record is the very most important thing in the campaign. Gearhart was never really much of a candidate. I always said that his budget was what we were running against and not Gearhart himself as a candidate or as a personality. It was his money. He went close to $300,000 if you include his money in the primary, and he had budgeted $306,000 from July forward. We don’t think that he ever raised his $306,000, but if you include the $68,000 he spent in the primary, he’s going to get close to $300,000. So it was really the money and what you can do with money with the electronic media and with direct mail.

LM:    How much did the campaign of Eckhardt cost?

AL:    It will cost around $100,000. Three to one.

LM:    How important in this election were small donations to Eckhardt? We hear much about the importance of a dollar or two dollars. Is that really true?

AL:    It is very important. I don’t have the percentage right down right now. I will probably in another week if I can do a budgetary analysis. But we did spend a great bit of time raising small amounts of money. We had one function where we grossed about $6,000 which was entirely from small donations. And then we had several mailings asking for small donations, and those mailings were responded to very well, and these are the $5, the $10 donations, up to $25.


LM:    24:09  Did you have a select mailing list for these?

AL:    When we started out we did not have much of a mailing list, and that was the very first thing I did was to start building a file. So I went back through the convention records and built the file from all the delegates to the precinct conventions in every precinct around this district. Plus he did in his office have a small friendly file and—

LM:    No enemies list on there.

AL:    (chuckles) No enemies list. Then I integrated that friendly file into the larger district file so that today we’re up to about 8,000. And I can say basically we started from zero. Of course you can’t run campaigns without a friendly file at all. So that became our basic master file. Those are all in the district folks.

LM:    You mentioned before that you had representatives go into the high schools. I suppose I should ask this as a broad question and include this type of thing in it. What steps when you assumed the role of campaign manager did you take to organize at the local level and the precinct levels?

AL:    First I would look at each community and try to draw the community leadership together and have a first meeting with them and talk about the issues and the importance of the campaign and see if there were any problems in the relationship between Eckhardt and the various community leaders. And any problems we then tried to answer. And if there weren’t any, then the next step would be to make assignments in terms of precincts and to get those people organizing on the grassroots level. I did this community by community.

LM:    How many people did you have working in the campaign for you?

AL:    In the headquarters?

LM:    Yes, well—

AL:    You mean as staff members?

LM:    26:24  There are probably two levels here:  the immediate circle around you in the headquarters and then those out in the areas who are primary, I suppose.

AL:    Oh gosh. We had a large group in Baytown, a large group in Deer Park, a large group in Pasadena. These were all at Democratic area headquarters, and they really were primarily Eckhardt organizers on a volunteer level. We had 2 groups in Northshore, we had 2 groups in northeast Houston, we had 3 groups in Acres Homes working. Any time that there was any kind of factional problem, I sat down with all factions. For example, this is where you get 2 or 3 groups working and just explain to them that the election was too crucial to let their factional difficulties affect the election and that if they could set those aside for this election and then go back to their disputes, which are primarily internal party leadership kinds of disputes, that it would be a great benefit. And everyone really did. I’ve seen factions work in this campaign that had not worked together in many, many years, and it was one of the real plusses of the campaign.

LM:    Did any of these factions consist of diehard Democratic conservatives?

AL:    Some were, say, moderate to conservatives. We sat down with them just as we had with our strong liberal folks. Of course we’d have more problems on the moderate to conservative level and a lot more questions, but an openness developed and they felt that they had some input, whereas they hadn’t before, they didn’t feel that they had. Many conservatives came into the campaign, particularly in the Aldine-Little York area.

LM:    What arguments did you use to win them over? It would seem that Gearhart would have been a perfect candidate for some of them.

AL:    One thing is that the moderate to conservatives that we’re talking about are a part of the Democratic Party. And in Texas, because Texas has been largely a one party state, the Democratic Party has always contained within itself the whole spectrum. So the first thing was to sit down and talk about the Democratic Party and what that means from the courthouse to the White House, and the second part is to give assurances that we would support the ticket from the courthouse to the White House and that any Democrat candidate could feel very welcome in our headquarters. If they wanted to put their literature in, if some of our block walkers wanted to carry their literature as well as Eckhardt’s, that would be great. Many of the moderate to conservatives had candidates that we had not worked particularly close with, and they were very pleased to then make a joined effort so that we could do all of it at one time. And Eckhardt, after all, is recognized as a major leader of the Democratic Party, so that could never be disputed. I guess the next level of question is they were concerned that they had not seen him and that they would like to have him to their civic clubs and so forth, and so we took care of that and we scheduled Eckhardt in to the civic clubs, and I scheduled those very people to drive Eckhardt and take him and introduce him to people. That worked very well in the campaign. Everyone in the community really enjoyed that part of it, because that way they could talk to the congressman at length to and from these meetings, and they felt more a part of the campaign. Rarely did I ever drive him anyplace or any staff member. I selected community people to do that job.


LM:    30:56  It would seem one of the major problems for you was the fact that he wasn’t physically here all that much.

AL:    No, he wasn’t, and I don’t know how we managed to do as well as we did without him being physically here more, but somehow we did. And when he did arrive here October 2nd for the entire congressional break, we made really good use of his time. In the month of September I used that factor to kind of build up an interest for when he got back, and I delayed the opening until the day after he got back so that some interest could build and when he came back everyone would be so glad that he was back.

[end of 209_01]  31:53

LM:    [beginning of 209_02]  00:08  One of the biggest appeals of Eckhardt was to the labor area, the laboring area. What about the officials in the union, the organized labor? Were they of much assistance to you?

AL:    Yes, they were. Both the AFL-CIO and the Steelworkers and then individual local unions within both of those groups gave us assistance, sometimes in manpower and financial assistance both.

LM:    Were they a crucial factor in this election?

AL:    I don’t think we could have done without working class people and organized working class people.

LM:    What I meant was the organized labor.

AL:    Yes, they were crucial in the election. Both their manpower and their funding was crucial.

LM:    Was there a turning point in the election or a peak that you noted—a crucial point?

AL:    I would say we went through two crucial points. One was by September 1st we had sat down with every major group in the district, and we felt very comfortable going into September. The second very crucial point had very little to do with us and had more to do with Gearhart’s campaign and was when his media blitz began. At that point we had already made the judgment that we would use organizing as our basic tool because we did not have the money to do media. And at that point I think we were a little bit on pins and needles seeing whether or not organizing, which we had steadily been doing since July 19th, was going to match the media blitz. After about a week out of his media blitz, we could rest pretty comfortably that he had not hurt us that much. Gun control only started catching on about a week out of the election, and there was no way that it could have cost us, ever, the election. All it could do was to steadily cut in. And once we made our answer, then that tended to turn that around pretty much.

LM:    You said you collected about $100,000.


AL:    03:02  Uh-hunh (affirmative).

LM:    About how much of that was—I realize this is an approximation, but approximately how much was spent for TV and radio?

AL:    Very little. TV we spent $2,300. Radio we spent $4,500. We spent around 42 or 43 percent of the budget on direct mail, because we just felt that we could target better with direct mail because we knew that it was going into the hands of registered voters. And you lose a great deal of TV in any kind of district race because you’re going into so many other districts, and you’re losing three-fourths of it.

LM:    On your radio advertisements was it simply on all the stations in Houston, or did you pinpoint certain ones that you thought were going to be most effective?

AL:    We pinpointed stations like KYRK, KXYZ.

LM:    A couple of country music stations.

AL:    Yes, right. They’re country music stations.

LM:    Okay. Looking back over the election, did you make any mistakes?

AL:    I did. I did not spend enough time in Pasadena and Deer Park, and that’s what I want to do next. I spent a great deal of time in Aldine-Little York area, and the results were very good, but I needed to spend more time in Pasadena and Deer Park on the gun issue.

LM:    When you say spent time there, do you mean organizing or simply making Eckhardt’s views better known there?

AL:    Both organizing and making Eckhardt’s views known a little bit better, doing some specialized mailings, more mailings there, and also doing some fundamental organizing. We have awfully good organizers in both of those areas, but new residents have moved in there also, and some more time getting those new residents into the organization would have been very beneficial.

LM:    How do you approach the problem? Do you simply go out and contact people? Did you have lists of Democrats? Again, do you pinpoint or do you blanket?

AL:    You can pinpoint your newly registered voters. I usually try to pinpoint the newly registered voters. In an area where I really want to stimulate some new organization I go in in a blanket way and do a massive kind of block walking. And it would not have hurt at all in Pasadena and Deer Park to have done massive block walking just to generate interest and visibility and stop by and say, “Hello, our Congressman certainly appreciates your support,” just getting some dialogue going.

LM:    06:11  I know much earlier in the interview you said that you sent representatives to the high school. Did you really feel that these young students, 18 years old, really have an interest in this? Were you successful, in other words?

AL:    What I did was more than send representatives. I sent Eckhardt to the high schools himself. He went to North Shore, he went to Aldine-Little York, he went to Spring High School, he went to Humble High School, because they haven’t seen a congressman and they don’t know the congressman. The high school students were not very active in the campaign. Some were from the Aldine-Little York area, some in Baytown, but we were not successful in moving large numbers of high school students, and I don’t think the Carter campaign— The youth factor was not very apparent this time, as it was in ’72.

LM:    What effect do you think Carter played on Eckhardt’s results? Do you think he had any effect at all?

AL:    No. We ran better than Carter, quite a bit better. I think at one point in the campaign we felt that Carter did us a great deal of good, but after the Lyndon Johnson remark and a couple of other things, it became clear that Carter was going to be riding on our coattails and not the other way around.

LM:    How much influence does a campaign manager have over the image of the candidate? In other words, did you want him to project a certain image, or is he already solidified in a certain form and that’s not even a part of the—

AL:    No, he is not solidified. We talked about issues and stances and image and which way to go and strategy all the time. And also he’s not solidified to the point that he left a great deal up to me to do and did not try to hold on to every aspect, which is a very good thing to do. But we had a constant dialogue going, which showed that Eckhardt is very flexible and is very willing to change if there is reason to.


LM:    09:02  Were there any issues over which your influence ever changed a decision or position?

AL:    No. I think that on issues that— I’ve been a follower of Eckhardt’s issues for a long time, and there are no issues— I think I helped to a certain extent, say, to make kind of a unified energy statement so that we could always show the oil companies that Eckhardt was not always opposed to the oil companies, this kind of thing, drawing several issues together to show that they formed a pattern and a program and that it was the long range program that was the important thing and not to single in or zero in on one issue. And I think that was an important contribution.

LM:    What role, if any, did you have in the divestiture issues with the oil companies? I noted in the literature you gave that he had done some homework there or written up some statements on it.

AL:    Right. He made his major divestiture speech just as I was coming on board so that I was not a part of writing that speech. What I was a part of was taking that speech and building it into his broader energy program and making sure that divestiture did not become an issue that Gearhart could seize upon. For two months Gearhart tried to seize upon the divestiture issue, and he finally just had to give up on it. We had made our point just to too many people and in the press, and we had put it in every piece of literature, and there was no way he could ever make that an issue.

LM:    I noted in several of his statements right on election night, I believe, he stated that he was running scared. Was this true? Was he indeed running scared?

AL:    11:15  I think that any politician who has that much money put up against him is going to take a very cautious look at the situation. He was not, I wouldn’t say, running just extremely scared, but he was certainly wary of it, and he knows what that much money can in fact do, and that was always his concern. How do you respond when you have that much media coming down against you? That’s always the question. If you don’t have the money to go in the electronic media yourself, you have to rely upon people. It gets scary.

LM:    I can’t recall any legislation on his part that was ever really a threat to the oil companies, and yet he seemed—at least the issue from the opposition seemed to center on—

AL:    Right. The oil companies have been concerned about his votes on the pricing of oil, and they would like to see sudden decontrol of prices. Eckhardt always takes a pretty cautious approach to any kind of sudden move, anything that would wrench the economy. It is not that he has never voted to decontrol some prices, but he would never vote just to completely remove all controls if it’s going to mean tripling in prices, and I think the oil companies or many of them—the majors—never, I don’t feel, got into the act. It was the independent oil producers who did. And apparently, they wanted someone who would just simply vote for sudden decontrol regardless of what would happen.

LM:    So you think most of Gearhart’s support came from the independents rather than—

AL:    Came from the independents, right.

LM:    So it really wasn’t the large oil companies then that he was bucking against.

AL:    No, it was not. Right. It was not the large oil companies. I say that just from doing an analysis of Gearhart’s contributors, and they are primarily independent oil producers. And Eckhardt has been a pretty good friend to the independents, but it’s just that he doesn’t do everything that they want done.

LM:    Did y’all receive any financial support from big business, or did most of your support simply come from labor unions and the working strata?


AL:    I would think that most of our contributions came from the working strata, but we had a number of contributions from people associated with firms. It’s illegal for a corporation to make a financial contribution, but Eckhardt does have support in the business community to a certain extent, and we were very fortunate in receiving ample contributions from that sector.

LM:    That just about covers the whole campaign, I believe, unless I’ve left out some areas that you’d like to talk about before we conclude the interview.

AL:    No. I think we’ve covered it.

LM:    One last question I did want to ask you. Were there any areas in which you expected to do better but didn’t?

AL:    I expected to do better in Deer Park and Pasadena.

LM:    Those were the only ones?

AL:    Those were the only two.

LM:    Well, on behalf of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, I want to thank you for coming down and participating in the project.

AL:    Thank you for inviting me.

[end of 209_02]  15:51