The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 28, 1962, Page Page 3, Image 3

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    Wednesday, March 28,.
Hanson, Denney Prepare
Russ Hanson
Continued from page 1)
committeemen have been
men of strong personalities
and vigorous action such as
Boyle, Quigley and Mullen."
It may have become easy,
then, through practice, for
emphasis to be shifted from
the state chairman to the na
tional committeeman.
The Republican counter
parts, on the other hand, ap
pear to be expected to be in
tune. The GOP state chair
man, Robert Denney is a
member of the national com
mittee as well as national
committeeman Don Ross.
And in this infield it seems
to be the chairman who
starts the chatter; lessx is
heard from the national com
mitteeman. Party Work
Where Hanson is concerned
the question may not be what
position he plays but where
does party organizational
work fit into his own life.
For most of his 54 years
one interest has been more
important to Hanson than
others, namely, the farmer.
"One of the reasons I en
tered politics was to try to
help benefit the farmer in
come," he says.
He was born on a farm
between Lyons and Oakland
on Dec. 9, 1907. His grand
father, originally a Toxword,
had settled here in the 1870's.
Grandfather Toxword, seeking
what he thought was more in
dividuality, changed his name
to Hanson (Swedish spelling
but of Danish background).
Today, this amuses' the
grandson. "There are more
Hansons now than jackrab
bits," he quipped.
He played baseball, first
base and outfield, for Lyons
and Oakland teams and then
joined the semi-pro Kansas
All Nations which traveled
throughout the Midwest.
"When the team headed for
Texas and Alabama, I quit,"
he explained. "I thought I
might run out of money, and
was worried about being
stranded that far away from
home." ,
What he did do was to re
turn to Newcastle, home to
public affairs and the plight
of the farmer. He followed
his father as a member of
Newcastle boards and com
mittees, and worked a farm
(now leases three) until his
conspicuous introduction to
politics at the state level in
Move to Dislodge
Shortly before the state con
vention in June, a move had
begun to dislodge W i 1 1 a r d
Townsend of Lincoln, then
state chairman.
Hanson, by his own admis
sion, was the draft choice.
He already had served as
precinct committeeman in
Newcastle and as secretary
and chairman of the Dixon
County Democrats. He had
the support of Boyle among
others but said he would not
declare his candidacy until he
had reached Omaha on Sat
urday of the convention and
could determine what support
he had.
He said he did not want to
run for chairman with a lim
ited amount of support that
might lead to a knock down,
drag out contest. '
The fear was that if dis
unity was exhibited in t h e
state organization over the
nomination that it would af
fect the party's strength in
the fall election.
Northern Strength
Once gathered in Omaha,
Hanson's strength appeared
to come from nortnern, west
ern and Omaha delegates.
Townsend withdrew his own
name and nominated Hanson
"to preserve unity . in t h e
By evening, after a unani
mous vote, Hanson took his
place at the head table as
state chairman.
In Grand Island at a July
meeting of the state central
committee he predicted Dem
ocratic victory if party work
ers could get. 26 non-voting
Democrats to the polls in each
of the state's 2,000 precincts.
"More than half of the Dem
ocratic voters in Nebraska
have not been going to the
polls because they have been
up against a one-party state
for so long that a certain
defeatism is to be expected,"
he said. "But it's different
"Taxes will be the 1958 vote
issue," he declared. "Nebras
ka farmers are' beginning to
ask where it (the exorbitant
property tax) will all end."
Rhetorical Humor
In 'a series of statements
from 1958 to 1960, Hanson
rode the backs of state Re
publicans. Most of the issues
were short-lived, but the rhe
torical humor still can be
found in newsprint.
Among them: Suggestion
4hat Republicans were suffer
ing from "QuiKnsy, a glandu
lar inflamation of the throat
that mad it extremely dif
ficult to swallow, in this case,
to swallow the defeat of Vic
Lincoln publicity man, John
Quinn, replied" that he'd
rather have "Quinnsy" than
painful "Boile", but added
that neither had anything to
do with a correct counting of
the gubernatorial vote
Last Bui!
In June, 1959, Hanson
called Republican Attorney
General C. S. Beck "the last
trumpeting bull in the grave
yard of the (GOP) elephant."
Beck's retort? "Ouch, I
have been bitten by a white
The exchange took place
after Beck called Brooks'
election a flash in the pan.
Words from Nebraska Dem
ocratic headquarters contin
ued to flow, not unlike those
expected from any political!
Grass Roots Move
A few hours after Lincolnite
Charles Thone took over as
state GOP chairman in 1959,
Hanson said that Thone's re
sponse to a grass roots move
ment must have been heart
warming to t h e traditional
few who made the selection.
"While I have great personal
regard for my Republican
counterpart," said Hanson, "I
doubt that he will be much
more than a 'Thone in the
flesh' to victory-hungry Re
publicans." Thone then mentioned how
"capable (Willard) Town
send was dumped out of of
fice in a power-laden, back
room, brassy move for power
by brass rooters Boyle and
In December, 1959, Hanson
and Boyle shifted to defense.
Fellow Democrat Clair Cal
lan of Odell said it was time
for Nebraska Democrats to
decide whether they wished
to keep Hanson and Boyle.
He considered it essential to
have responsible party lead
ership and said it was appar
ent the Demos were not re
ceiving it.
More Money
Hanson's reply: "The party
now has more money in the
treasury, more people work
ing enthusiastically and the
election of a governor, treas
urer and two congressmen.
We have had complete unity
in our organization until
Frank . Morrison started to
Boyle's comment: "Merry
Christmas came a little late
for party constituents.
Democrats Don McGinley
and Larry Brock lost their
placards in the U.S. House of
Representatives to Republi
cans Ralph Beerman and
Dave Martin. Elective posi
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- . I
tions in the Statehouse, with
the exception of the govern
or's office, were taken up by
Democratic Victory -
But there was one impor
tant victory for Democrats be
yond the election of Gov.
Frank Morrison and that was
in the White House.
Hanson had become ac
qi iinted with Jack Kennedy
at state conventions in Ne
braska and at national con
ventions in Los Angeles.
"In Omaha's Fontenelle Ho-
tell one year I was standing"
behind a- young lady who
introduced herself as Mrs.
Kennedy," Hanson recalled.
"A well-known name," he
said. "Are you any relation
to the ' Massachusetts sena
tor?" ,
"You might say so," she re
plied. "We're celebrating our
5th wedding anniversary to
day." Appeared Nervous "
Hanson said he continued
the conversation asking Mrs.
Kennedy why she appeared a
bit nervous. She admitted that
she always feared hotel fires
but that she kept a strong,
light-weight rope in her purse
in case such emergencies re
quired escape through a win
dow. '
"Funny thing," Hanson's
wife replied. "So do I."
In January, as Morrison
took office, the intra-party
feud opened for all to see,
and Hanson was necessarily
a part of it.
Boyle forces and Morrison
forces pitched verbal s p i t
balls, Morrison being alter
nately blessed and damned as
Daily Nebraskan
a non-partisan governor and
Boyle again being labeled a
political "boss."
Political Writer
A columnist and political
writer for the Lincoln Star,
Don Walton, said two distinct
arguments advanced: "The
governor has not acted like a
partisan Democrat, yielding
to Republicans and destroying
party morale . . . On the oth
er hand, officials of the party
have attempted to discredit
the governor both privately
and publicly, thus tearing
down the only officeholder
about whom the party could
unite in 1962."
By this time, a controversy
over patronage was in full
Near the first of the year
Boyle had listed postmaster
ships for some 50 Democrats.
But recent appointments in
cluding those of U.S. district
attorney from Nebraska, U.S.
marslall from Nebraska,
Omaha and Lincoln postmas
terships and a U.S. crop in
surance consultant have gone
to Morrison-endorsed candi
dates. When Boyle charged that
Morrison had asked President
Kennedy for control of federal
jobs, Morrison replied that
there were a lot more impor
tant problems to contend with
than a "professional politi
cian." "I would not think of tak
ing the time of the President
to discuss political patron
age," Morrison said. "As long
as I am governor, nobody is
going to use tne power ot pa
tronage for personal "power
nor to intimidate, affect or
interfere with the responsible
administration of the office of
governor or any other state
Morrison said he did not
like Dolitical patronage and
that "for every friend you
make, you make five ene
mies." Voodoo Tactics
Walton continued in his col
umn, Feb. 3, 1962: "The vic
tories of 1958 have disap
peared. . . . Since then,
Democrats have been tignt
inff over oartv leadershio and
appointments and patronage
and personality Dealing
each other over the head pub
licly and sticking pins in little
dolls privately."
In March a tnree-memrjer
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for Sprjng Election
committee of long time work
ers was named to deal with
the problem of party har
mony. How this will work, Han
son's not-certain.
"But I do know people are
unhappy about this situation,"
he said. "I get from one to
five letters a day from party
members telling me so."
Few Candidates
As the March 16 office filing
deadline neared, Democrats
found candidates for every of
fice, but those who added up
the slate felt there were not
as many candidates as there
had been in previous years.
What if Morrison loses the
only Democratic hold in the
"Then we'll have to start
from scratch, reorganize,
groom new candidates," the
state chairman said. "Grass
roots work in "a party never
Robert Denney
Continued from page 1)
sense of self-satisfiaction in
maintaining a republic is
much more important."
He leaned his elbow on the
desk and added that politi
cians should not believe in po
litical patronage. "It is a sad
mistake for any political
worker to have the aim of
furthering self in politics," be
"Furthermore, I will not be
a candidate for office. It is
my primary goal to advance
in the law .profession rather
than be a candidate for the
statehouse or Congress. Poli
tics will be a service, not a
profession," Denney said em
phatically. Political Future
No sooner had he denounced
any candidacy, then he began
gazing into the political future
of the party and how he could
support it as a leader.
"I've always wanted to be
a part of good government,"
he said. "I hope to set ex
amples for other Nebraskans
to take an active part in pol
itics. I want to make friend
ships with all Nebraskans."
Denney explained that he
wanted to tell these Nebras
kans that "nationally a strong
centralized government is bad
and destroys the check and
balance system created for
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job to dispel this concept
of American government, he
Today, Denney said, some
of the GOP political beliefs
bear an indirect relation to
those of the early pioneers.
A free economy, sound fiscal
policies and strong state and
local governments stem from
these early philosophies, he
Denney's strong support for
local government comes as no
surprise to Fairbury citizens
who have seen him take an
active part in many civic
and governmental affairs. -
In the past 20 years, Den
ney has served as city attor
ney, county attorney and
president of the Chamber of
Commerce. He continued his
Chamber activities and sup
port of the community by
heading the Fairbury Indus
trial Development Corporation
for two years. He also was
attorney for the Fairbury
board of public works.
Ask Fairbury citizens how
they view Denney's contribu
tions to the community and
they answer that he is indus
trious, proficient and capa
ble. A few criticized him for
taking too much initiative,
but they then reconsidered,
saying perhaps they were
jealous of his accomplish
mtnts. L. K. Cramb, Fair
bury newspaperman, summed
up Denney's strength as an
individual with "he's a Re-
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Page 3
nublican and I'm a Demo
crat, but I still hold the high
est respect lor Denney ami
his political views."
At home, he took ud his
role as father, lawyer and
civic worker. He and his
wife. Ruth, have three sons
and one daughter. The older
sons, vernon ana uavia, are
attending school in Pasadena
College and Phillips Exeter
Academy, respectively. Mi
chael is in tbe 8th grade and
Deborha is 5 years old.
Often the Dennev family
finds "Dad" away from home
nn a business trio. Even
though they miss him, they
confide that he must carry
out the party affairs, wheth
er it's a triD to a convention
or a conference with a fellow
party worker. .
And that party worker may
well be the young Nebraska
housewife who heard Denney,
saw him rise to leave, tnen
close the door with confi
dence that she would vote la
the primary.
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8:30-11:30 Friday.
SlllfiiilER JQDS
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