James D. Martin
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (March 2013)|
|James D. Martin|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 7th district
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 1967
|Preceded by||Carl Elliott|
|Succeeded by||Tom Bevill|
September 1, 1918 |
Tarrant, Jefferson County
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican (1962)|
|Occupation||Retired petroleum products distributor|
James Douglas Martin (born September 1, 1918) is a Republican politician from the U.S. State of Alabama. His 1962 campaign for the United States Senate was the first serious showing by an Alabama Republican since Reconstruction.
Martin was born in Tarrant near Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama. He received his education in the public schools and the Birmingham School of Law. In 1937, he began working in the petroleum industry. In July 1941, he enlisted in the United States Army, in which he commanded an artillery battery in Europe during World War II. He also served as an intelligence officer in the Army of Occupation and was discharged as a Major in March 1946. He returned to his occupation as a petroleum products distributor.
Originally a conservative Democrat, Martin joined the GOP to challenge the reelection in 1962 of Senator Joseph Lister Hill. No Republican had even opposed Hill since his initial election in 1944, when John A. Posey had drawn 17 percent of the vote. Hill recognized that a backlash among some southern white voters against the administration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy could weaken his own prospects for a fifth and final term. He hence devised an effective strategy which only barely staved off defeat: denounce Kennedy's ongoing intervention in the desegregation of the University of Mississippi at Oxford but simultaneously extol the "Alabama Democratic Party" and deny inconsistency between his status as a Washington insider and his membership in a rebellious state party. Hill blamed the federal judiciary for desegregation and recalled that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, had intervened in a similar situation in the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Hill-Martin race drew considerable national attention. The liberal columnist Drew Pearson wrote from Decatur, Alabama, that "for the first time since Reconstruction, the two-party system, which political scientists talk about for the South, but never expect to materialize, may come to Alabama." The New York Times viewed the Alabama race as the most vigorous off-year effort in modern southern history but predicted a Hill victory on the basis that Martin had failed to gauge "bread-and-butter" issues and was viewed as an "ultraconservative."
Martin lost by 6,019 votes, having polled 195,134 ballots (49.1 percent) to Hill's 201,937 (50.9 percent). Turnout dropped sharply in 1962, compared to 1960, when presidential electors dominated the ballot, and the state split between Democrat electors for Kennedy-Johnson and an unpledged slate, Richard M. Nixon trailed with 41.7 percent of the Alabama vote in 1960. Martin obtained majorities in thirty of the sixty-seven counties and carried two of the largest, his native Jefferson and Hill's native Montgomery by sixteen percentage points
In 1964, buoyed by attention from his previous Senate campaign, Martin was elected to the House of Representatives in the 89th Congress during the Goldwater landslide in Alabama which saw several other Republicans elected to the House. He gave up the House seat after one term, however, in order to run for governor of Alabama in 1966. Martin was overwhelmingly defeated by Lurleen Wallace, wife of outgoing Governor George C. Wallace He even ran behind Republican John Grenier, who was unsuccessfully challenging U.S. Senator John Sparkman that year.
Martin also ran for the Senate in 1972 but lost the Republican nomination to former Postmaster General Winton Blount, who in turn was easily defeated by incumbent John Sparkman. Martin ran again in 1978, first against the Alabama Supreme Court Justice Howell Heflin, the Democratic nominee to succeed the retiring Senator Sparkman. He switched races to face Donald W. Stewart to fill the unexpired term of James B. Allen, who died in office. However, Stewart, who first beat Allen's widow, Maryon Allen, in the primary, went on to defeat Martin. Martin then returned to work in the petroleum industry.
In 1987, Guy Hunt, the first Republican governor of Alabama since Reconstruction, appointed Martin commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Martin is among the oldest living former members of the U.S. Congress.
- Robert A. Diamond, ed., Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections, 2nd ed., Washington, D.C., 1985, p. 609
- The Huntsville Times, October 26, 1962; Mobile Register, October 2, 1962
- The Huntsville Times, October 24, 1962
- The New York Times, October 31, 1962, p. 14; in its article, The Times did not mention the 1961 special election for the U.S. Senate in Texas in which John Tower emerged as the long-term Republican successor to Lyndon B. Johnson.
- Diamond, Congressional Quarterly's Guide, p. 609
- "James D. Martin Wildlife Park". showmelocal.com. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
- James Douglas Martin
- James D. Martin at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- The Political Graveyard
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Alabama's 7th congressional district