Yellow Dogs and Republicans: Allan Shivers and Texas Two-Party Politics

By Ricky F. Dobbs | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
“That All Depends upon God and Allan Shivers”
1945–49

TEXAS DEMOCRATS’ INTERNECINE BLOODLETTING DURING THE EARLY 1940s badly strained party unity and opened fissures that widened afterward. Allan Shivers, meanwhile, had kept his sympathies carefully hidden. Active duty overseas also sheltered him from some of the intraparty warfare. The Port Arthur senator returned from war with ambitions for statewide office and won the lieutenant governorship in 1946. Shivers expanded the power of Texas’ most powerful elected office. No longer representing a relatively liberal bastion in southeast Texas, Shivers enjoyed greater freedom to act on his own conservative views. The immediate postwar years brought upheaval and change to both Texas and the South. Conservative Democrats grew more disenchanted with the national party. Shivers’s own party loyalty weakened during the two and one-half years he presided over the Texas senate. Like many other southern Democrats, he worked hard to hold at bay the changes that were pressing upon his state and region.

Shivers had been back in Texas only three months when the Beaumont Journal touted him as a candidate for lieutenant governor in the 1946 elections. He renewed his contacts with wealthy and powerful friends he would need to sponsor a statewide race. Along with a group of state senators, he dined with construction tycoon Herman Brown, who bankrolled LBJ and other politicians. He hunted conservative millionaire W. S. Schreiner’s ranch. Maynard Robinson, a lawyer friend from San Antonio, suggested Shivers run for either attorney general or lieutenant governor. Robinson argued that the senator could count on a second base in the Rio Grande Valley in addition to his own district. His associations with John Shary would surely enlist support from the Valley’s machine politicians.1

Before running for state office, however, the state senator needed a statewide

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