Quote o’ the Day (George McGovern Hearts Louise Day Hicks Edition)

Well the hardworking staff was doing some homework today when we came across this exchange between Hunter S. Thompson and his editor in the 1973 Rolling Stone piece, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail in ’72:

HST: [T]here was a whole series of things that hurt [McGovern] all across the board: that trip to the LBJ Ranch, the sucking up to Mayor Daley, the endorsement of Ed Hanrahan, state’s attorney in Chicago – who was indicted for the murder of Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader…

Ed: McGovern endorsed Hanrahan?

HST: Yeah. He also endorsed Louise Day Hicks in Boston.

Ed: Oh, no!

HST: The racist woman, who was running for Congress…

Ed: Did she win?

HST: No, I think she lost. And Hanrahan lost, despite the McGovern endorsement… all that hurt McGovern and also having his own so-called campaign director, Larry O’Brien, denounce him just before Labor Day. O’Brien denounced the whole McGovern campaign as a can of worms, a rolling ball of madness… incompetence, a bunch of ego freaks running around in circles with nobody in charge. That kind of thing couldn’t possibly have helped.

Thompson was right – Hicks did lose her 1972 bid for reelection to the House of Representatives.

Though she easily won the Democratic primary, she lost narrowly in a four–way general election to Joe Moakley, who ran this time on the Independent–Conservative ticket. Moakley edged Hicks out with 70,571 to 67,143 votes (43 percent to 41 percent of the total vote).

Of course when he endorsed Hicks, McGovern lost even more.

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4 Responses to Quote o’ the Day (George McGovern Hearts Louise Day Hicks Edition)

  1. Bob Gardner says:

    I’m looking for some confirmation on the internet but so far I don’t see anything definite. It seems that Joe Moakley skipped the primary to run as an independent. Is it possible that the McGovern campaign put out something like “let’s vote for all the Democrats”? I’ll keep looking for a source, but I’m a little skeptical.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      Moakley apparently did run third-party, Bob. As for McGovern’s endorsement of Louise Day Hicks, there’s this:


      Not sure it’s conclusive, but does seem unambiguous.

      • Bob Gardner says:

        Sorry it took so long, but it took a special order from a dedicated staff member at the Turner Free Library to get me a copy of Professor Taylor’s book. He cites p 487 of Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail “72. and when I checked the page I found (as you might suspect) the same interview you originally posted..
        So I’m inclined to give George McGovern the benefit of the doubt, still.

  2. Campaign Outsider says:

    Fair enough, Bob.

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