Monroe Schwarzlose

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Monroe Schwarzlose
Born Monroe Alfred Julius Schwarzlose
(1902-09-06)September 6, 1902
Seguin, Guadalupe County
Texas, USA
Died November 24, 1990(1990-11-24) (aged 88)
Resting place
Zorn Cemetery in Zorn, Texas
Residence Kingsland
Cleveland County
Arkansas
Occupation Turkey farmer
Political party

Republican-turned-Democrat

Democratic gubernatorial primary contender in 1978, 1980, and 1982 against Bill Clinton
Religion Lutheran
Spouse(s) Not mentioned in obituary
Children Carol Johnson

Monroe Alfred Julius Schwarzlose (September 6, 1902 - November 24, 1990) was a turkey farmer in Cleveland County, Arkansas, who polled 31 percent of the vote in the 1980 Democratic primary against the incumbent Governor and future U.S. President William Jefferson Blythe "Bill" Clinton, who was seeking his second two-year term. Political observers at the time believed that Schwarzlose's support represented an intraparty protest to Clinton's policies as governor. In the general election, Clinton was unseated by the Republican nominee, the late Frank Durward White, a former savings and loan association president. Clinton came back in 1982 to reclaim the governorship from White.

Life and career[edit]

Schwarzlose was born of German ancestry in Seguin (pronounced SEH GEENE) in Guadalupe County in the Texas Hill Country. Schwarzlose was living in Oregon at the time he procured his Social Security number. He settled in Kingsland, but his obituary does not say when he moved to Arkansas.

Schwarzlose ran as a Republican in 1974, a heavily Democratic year nationally, for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives from a district which then encompassed Dallas and Calhoun, and part of Cleveland counties in southern Arkansas. He was easily beaten by the Democrat Thomas Sparks of Fordyce, the seat of Dallas County.

In 1978, Schwarzlose polled 1 percent of the vote in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against then Attorney General Bill Clinton and three other rivals. He ran on a platform calling for legalized gambling and a state lottery. Schwarzlose said that gambling will continue to be practiced, and the state government should obtain a portion of the proceeds.

In 1980, Schwarzlose, at seventy-eight, became the focus of much anti-Clinton sentiment in Arkansas even though he was personally friendly with the young governor. Clinton's voter appeal seemed to rest on his advocacy of utility reform, consumer protection, and environmental quality. Others were disturbed when Mrs. Clinton, the former Hillary Rodham, used her maiden name as an attorney in Little Rock. A retired military man, Billy Geren of Fayetteville, called Clinton a "draft dodger" in the Vietnam War. Others objected to Clinton's embrace of a 30 percent hike in motor vehicle registration fees, a one-cent per gallon increase in motor fuel taxes, and a 20 percent boost in state aid to local school districts. Others felt even then that Clinton had presidential aspirations and had become bored with the job of governor of a small state. Yet, no prognosticators expected Clinton to be defeated by the politically unknown Frank White. Then troubles developed for Clinton involving Cuban refugees sent into Fort Smith by U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Schwarzlose spent only $4,000, mostly for travel and for distributing home-canning recipes as campaign literature. The Arkansas Gazette called Schwarzlose "an engaging gentleman with good home-canning recipes and some fetching stories about turkey farming and bucolic life around his home in Kingsland." Ernest Clifton Dumas, then the Gazette associate editor, described Schwarzlose as a "quixotiic candidate" and a maverick using his own money and campaigning on the most undesirable platform planks and making the "most outrageous" promises. Schwarzlose, for instance, said that if he were elected governor in 1980, he would donate his farm to the Arkansas Sheriff's Association Boys and Girls Ranches for use as an orphanage. Dumas said of Schwarzlose that "even Hee Haw gets tiresome on the third rerun."

Schwarzlose ran again for governor in the 1982 Democratic primary against Clinton, former Lieutenant Governor Joe Purcell, U.S. Representative Jim Guy Tucker, and State Senator Kim Hendren of Benton County. Clinton won the nomination in a runoff with Purcell, and Schwarzlose finished in fifth place. In 1986, Schwarzlose filed as a write-in candidate, when Clinton won the first of his two four-year terms. He would not finish the second term because of his election as U.S. President.

At the time of Schwarzlose's death, Clinton said through a spokesman that he had first met Schwarzlose at a campaign event in 1978 in Lake Village, the seat of Chicot County in the heavily Democratic southeastern corner of the state. He last saw him in 1989 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Little Rock. Schwarzlose was a veteran of World War II. Clinton added that he "really enjoyed knowing him."

Schwarzlose was Lutheran. He was survived by a daughter, Carol Johnson of Dayton, Ohio, and a grandchild. Schwarzlose was interred in the Zorn Cemetery in the Zorn community in Guadalupe County, Texas, near his family members.

The Schwarzlose family suggested memorials to the Kingsland public school, which tragically was razed by a fire in 2003.

References[edit]

Kelly DeBrine, Monroe Schwarzlose, political maverick, dies", Arkansas Gazette, November 25, 1990

Election Statistics, 1978 and 1980 Little Rock: Arkansas Secretary of State

"Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, February 23, 1980, p. 442; May 17, 1980, p. 1324

Arkansas Gazette, November 7, 1974

"Fresh Faces of '78", Newsweek, November 20, 1978, p. 53

Camden News, Camden, Arkansas, October 28, 1978

Roger Morris, Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America ( New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1996) pp. 243, 283

http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2004/12/14/HarryKing/312127.html

http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2003/05/29/57543.html

http://politicalgraveyard.com/geo/AR/ofc/gov.html

http://www.oldstatehouse.com/exhibits/virtual/governors/the_new_south/clinton.asp

http://nwaonline.net/articles/2007/03/07/columns/harry_king/030707king.txt

http://www.rootsweb.com/~txguadal/zorn.html

http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi