From the Annals of Our Poor Idiot Governors – In 1871 James Edward “Pa” Ferguson was born in Salado. Ferguson was City Attorney and a banker in Belton as well as a political player when he decided to run for governor in 1914. He won election as an anti-prohibitionist Democrat but almost immediately got in trouble. Ferguson engaged in a personal vendetta against University of Texas professors who he believed should be fired. When UT refused to act, he vetoed the appropriations bill for the university with the ultimate result of him being impeached, convicted and removed from office. Ferguson was not done with politics as he later ran for the U.S. Senate and President as a minor third party candidate. He was able to secure the election of his wife Miriam “Ma” Ferguson who was the first woman elected governor of a U.S. State.
Red regards Pa Ferguson as one of a long line of worthless inhabitants of the Governor’s Mansion along with such notables as Pappy O’Daniel, Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe, John Connally, Bill Clements, George W. Bush, Rick Perry and our current poor idiot governor Greg Abbott. Really, where do they get these guys?
From the Annals of Mr. Texas – In 1941, Lt. Gov. Coke Stevenson was sworn in as Governor of Texas when Pappy O’Daniel resigned to take office as a United States senator. Stevenson’s story is rather remarkable. He grew up in hard scrabble land of the western Hill Country and had almost no formal education. He began work in his teens running mule teams that hauled freight between Junction and Brady. He educated himself on the trail studying history and bookkeeping at night. He worked his way up from janitor to bank cashier and continued to study – this time tackling law under the tutelage of Judge Marvin Blackburn. He passed the bar exam in 1913 and continued his banking career while practicing law. Stevenson organized and became president of the First National Bank in Junction and also aspired to politics. He was elected Kimble County Attorney and County Judge. He later was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1928 and became Speaker of the House in a remarkable short five years. In 1939, he was elected lieutenant governor. After succeeding Daniel he was elected governor on his own in 1942 and served until 1947. Unfortunately, he may be most famous for his loss to Lyndon Johnson in the 1948 Democratic Primary. It was a race filled with controversy and scandal and revealed LBJ as a politician who would stop at nothing to win. The race and Stevenson’s own remarkable rise to power is brilliantly chronicled in Robert Caro’s Path to Power volume of his series on LBJ.