IN THIS CORNER, LITTLE
John Tower v. Robert Krueger, U.S. Senate, Texas, 1978
My kind of Texan doesn't shake hands with that kind of man.
I know it is Texas, but this one got really nasty. I do not think these two men liked each other very much. John Tower was a three-term U.S. senator seeking reelection in a state that had become accustomed to tough, bare-handed political fights. His opponent was Bob Krueger, a two-term U.S. congressman representing west Texas.
The thing that Tower and Krueger had in common was that they were both college professors before they were elected to office. But that's where the similarity ends. Tower was short, feisty, folksy, and plainspoken; Krueger was tall, reserved, and rather urbane for a Texas politician. Tower was married with several children; Krueger was single. Tower had been a political science professor; Kruger was a scholar of Shakespearean literature.
Tower, in particular, enjoyed highlighting the differences between the two of them. During the course of the campaign, some Tower supporters even raised "questions" about the fact that Krueger had never served in the military (important in a state like Texas) and, at age forty-three, had never been married.1
As the only Republican elected statewide, Tower presented a big and tempting target for Texas Democrats. This was especially true because in the Senate, Tower became a pillar of the Republican's conservative wing, and