The Campaign for Governor
No one who knew Dick Russell well in the 1920s ever doubted that he had his eye on the governorship. His position on legislative matters, the care he took to avoid alienating or angering any important faction in the House of Representatives, and the personal contacts he sought were all aimed at enhancing his political image and statewide voter strength. He also had the full support and encouragement of his large family.
Russell had a unique sense of political timing. By 1930 he believed the time had come for him to enter the race for governor. Conditions seemed just right. He sensed that the people were ready to follow a new leader who was free from the old politics and factional alignments. On Saturday, April 5, Russell made the formal announcement that he would be a candidate for governor. 1
The next day, the Atlanta Constitution carried Russell's platform statement in full. His statement set the tone and outlined the principles on which he intended to seek the state's highest office. He first sought to establish his independence and disassociate himself from any of the state's political machines or factions. He was undertaking the race, he wrote, without consulting any political groups that might "have favors to seek or political debts to pay." Russell claimed that he was beholden to no one except the people, who were tired of "personal and factional politics." Georgia citizens, he said, wanted a governor "independent of past alignments and existing factions, who represents no clique or interest with a political axe to grind," and who holds himself answerable only "to the whole people alone." He added that voters wanted "an honest and economical administration" and that government must be "remodeled and placed on a strictly business basis."
After presenting himself as an independent candidate free from all political debts and deals, Russell offered a ten-point program. He first insisted that the state needed a governor who could work closely with