Raymond Strother

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Raymond D. Strother
Born 1940
Port Arthur, Texas, USA
Residence

Washington, D.C.

Bozeman, Montana
Alma mater

Northwestern State University

Louisiana State University
Occupation

Political consultant

Campaign manager for Gary Hart in 1984
Political party
Democratic
Spouse(s) Sandy Peck Strother
Children

Dane Strother

Kristan S. Trugman

Raymond D. Strother (born 1940) is a nationally known Democratic political consultant, originally from Port Arthur, Texas.

Background[edit]

Reared in a politically-active lower middle class home, Strother graduated in 1958 from Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, renamed in 2002 as Memorial High School. Strother won a track scholarship to Northwestern State University, then Northwestern State College, in Natchitoches, Louisiana. After two years, the administration asked him to leave NSC because of his political activities. He transferred to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. There he became the advertising director and then the editor of The Daily Reveille student newspaper. While in Baton Rouge to complete his Master of Arts degree in journalism, Strother was a night reporter and photographer for the Associated Press. His 1965 thesis at LSU correctly predicted that in the future the outcome of political campaigns would depend more on media coverage and advertising than on traditional political organization.[1]

Political life[edit]

Strother recalls that from his childhood:

"Politics mattered to our lives. People like my family had no other place to turn. I remember as a very small child praying at night to Harry Truman. My father taught me that you had to stand on the picket line ... and you had to get involved in politics — because people like us had no other choice. So I became a political consultant. It was a calling like the ministry. ...Louisiana was my foxhole and I wear the scars on my soul, though I left there in 1980 to move to the District of Columbia. Corruption is an insidious thing. It is a cancer that lives and grows within us without notice. I learned political consulting in Louisiana, perhaps the most corrupt place in America. But strangely enough, most of the people there are not corrupt. They are as good as people everywhere.[2]

Strother's first campaign management role was on behalf of the Democrat Mary Evelyn Parker, who was elected for the first time on February 6, 1968, as the Louisiana state treasurer in a lopside race against the Republican candidate Allison Kolb. In time, Strother became a consultant to U.S. Senators Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, Russell B. Long, John Breaux and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, John Stennis of Mississippi, Dennis DeConcini of Arizona, Gary Hart of Colorado, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Al Gore of Tennessee, and many others. He worked for gubernatorial candidates Bill Clinton of Arkansas, John McKeithen, Edwin Edwards, and Buddy Roemer of Louisiana, Mark Wells White of Texas, Bill O'Neil of Connecticut, Rudy Perpich of Minnesota, and Roy Barnes of Georgia.[1]

In 1984 and 1988, he supervised the media campaign for Gary Hart's presidential bids, but Hart was eliminated by Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. Strother then worked on the Super Tuesday states in 1988 for Al Gore, who ran well only in parts of the American South.[1]

Strother has garnered awards for his documentaries about Senator Bentsen, a former U.S. representative and later the Clinton administration Secretary of the Treasury, and U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a figure in the civil rights movement.[1]

Strother has been named to the LSU Journalism Hall of Fame, the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame, and, in 2013, to the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield, located some thirty miles east of Natchitoches, where his college education had begun in 1958. Strother is a former president and chairman of the board of the American Association of Political Consultants. In 1999, he was a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2008 he was named a fellow at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas. He also serves on the Board of Visitors of the LSU College of Journalism.

A new national award named "The Strother" in his honor was instituted in his honor during 2002 at the University of Akron where he was named an honorary fellow. The designation recognizes political professionals with an "exemplary record of achievement" in the field itself as well as promoting their expertise in higher education.[1] Northwestern State University awarded him a Doctorate of Humane Letters. An exhibit depicting his life was installed in the Hall of Notable People at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur, Texas.

In 1991, Strother penned a novel, Cottonwood, the story of a dishonest political consultant.[3] His 2005 autobiography is entitled Falling Up, How a Redneck Helped Invent Political Consulting.[4]

In 2000, Strother was an analyst on the Public Broadcasting Service for the Cheney-Lieberman vice presidential debate. He was written essays for the Atlanta Constitution, The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Washington Post. Campaigns and Elections magazine calls Strother "the poet of democracy." [1]

Strother is married to the former Sandy Peck, also a native of Port Arthur. They have two children who live in the Washington, D.C. area, Dane Strother and Kristan S. Trugman. The Strothers now reside in Bozeman, Montana, and have a home on the Big Hole River near the unincorporated community of Wise River in Beaverhead County near Dillon, Montana.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Raymond Strother: Political Strategist/Author (1940)". Museum of the Gulf Coast. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Falling Up: How a Redneck Helped to Invent Political Consulting, March 20, 2003". archipelago.org. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ Cottonwood. Dutton, 1991, 288 pp., ISBN= 978-0525249528. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ Falling Up, How a Redneck Helped Invent Political Consulting. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2005, 306 pp., ISBN= 978-0807130605. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]