ELLIOTT SPRINGS CLOSE (D) v. SENATOR STROM THURMOND (R)
In 1932, Democrats at their national convention in Chicago first nominated New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt for president. Among the Roosevelt delegates was an ambitious twenty-nine-year-old South Carolina politician who was a candidate for his state legislature. Both he and Roosevelt won their elections in November.
In 1996, Republicans at their national convention in San Diego nominated former Kansas senator Bob Dole for president. Seated among the Dole delegates was a ninety-three-year-old senator from South Carolina, a forty-two-year Senate veteran running for the seat for the ninth time. Dole lost in November but the senator won. Voters were aware that he would be 100 years old when his term expired in January 2003.
In both instances, the South Carolinian was Strom Thurmond, the longest-lasting public figure in the United States. Often a subject of derision, a staple of late-night television humor with his pronounced Piedmont accent, rust-colored hair implants, and young wives, he has navigated both the civil rights revolution and the media politics era as skillfully as anyone--more so, considering his durability.
Still, if any incumbent could be considered vulnerable, it would seem to be a ninety-three-year-old man. Thurmond's triumph was the result