John McKeithen's official photo as Governor of Louisiana in 1964.
|49th Governor of Louisiana|
May 12, 1964 – May 9, 1972
|Lieutenant||Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock|
|Preceded by||James H. Davis|
|Succeeded by||Edwin Edwards|
|Louisiana Public Service Commissioner from District 3 (North Louisiana)|
January 1, 1955 – May 1964
|Preceded by||Harvey Broyles|
|Succeeded by||John S. Hunt, III|
|Louisiana State Representative for District 20 (Caldwell Parish)|
|Preceded by||V. E. Claunch|
|Succeeded by||Johnnie W. Calton|
|Born||John Julian McKeithen
May 28, 1918
Grayson, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||June 4, 1999
Columbia, Louisiana, U.S.
|Resting place||Hogan Cemetery in Caldwell Parish|
|Spouse(s)||Marjorie Howell Funderburk "Margie" McKeithen (1942–1999, his death)|
|Children||Six children, including W. Fox McKeithen|
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University Law Center|
|Religion||United Methodist Church|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942–1946|
World War II
John Julian McKeithen (May 28, 1918 – June 4, 1999) was the 49th governor of Louisiana, with service from 1964 to 1972. A Democrat from the rural town of Columbia, he was the first governor of his state in the twentieth century to serve two consecutive terms. He strongly advocated the construction of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
- 1 Early life
- 2 State legislator and public service commissioner
- 3 Election as governor, 1963–64
- 4 McKeithen as governor
- 5 After governorship
- 6 Hogan Cemetery
- 7 Popular culture
- 8 References
- 9 External links
McKeithen was born in the village of Grayson just south of Columbia in Caldwell Parish, the son of contractor and farmer, Jesse J. McKeithen and the former DeEtte Eglin. He graduated from high school there and first attended college in High Point, North Carolina. In 1942, he earned his law degree from Louisiana State University Law Center in the capital city of Baton Rouge.
From 1942–1946, during World War II, McKeithen served as a first lieutenant in the 77th Infantry Division, United States Army in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He fought in the battles of Guam, Gulf of Leyte, Ie Shima, and Okinawa. He was awarded two Bronze Star Medals.
After the war, McKeithen started practicing law in Columbia. On June 14, 1942, he married a young teacher, the former Marjorie "Margie" Howell Funderburk (September 30, 1919 – March 24, 2004), a twin sister of Margaret Funderburk. Marjorie, who was reared in Winnsboro in Franklin Parish, graduated from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She taught mathematics and chemistry at Jena High School in Jena in LaSalle Parish and, thereafter, at the Ward 5 School in Caldwell Parish. The McKeithens had six children, including the future State Representative and Louisiana Secretary of State Fox McKeithen (1946–2005). Their oldest son was Jesse Jay McKeithen (1943–1998). Their daughters are Rebecca Ann, Melissa Sue, Pamela Clare, and Jenneva Maude. Marjorie McKeithen was the homemaker at their Hogan Plantation and reserved the spotlight for her popular husband, whom she affectionately called "J. J."
State legislator and public service commissioner
McKeithen was elected as a Louisiana state representative in 1948; he was a prominent floor leader for Governor Earl Kemp Long. As a legislator, McKeithen consistently voted for tax increases. In the 1948 session, he supported the implementation of the 2 percent state sales tax, a 2-cent-per-gallon increase in gasoline taxes, higher tobacco and alcohol levies, taxes on chain stores, greater severance taxes, and higher rates on electricity.
In 1952, as a 33-year-old state legislator, he was an unsuccessful Democratic primary candidate for lieutenant governor on a slate headed by gubernatorial candidate Carlos Spaht and ostensibly supported by the Longs. The "anti-Longs", led that year by Judge Robert F. Kennon of Minden, won the governorship and other top positions. In a runoff election, McKeithen lost the lieutenant governor's race to C. E. "Cap" Barham of Ruston, the seat of Lincoln Parish, who had originally run on the gubernatorial intraparty ticket with U.S. Representative Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr., of New Orleans. Barham then switched to the Kennon ticket in the runoff against McKeithen. Once in office, however, Kennon and Barham were often at odds.
McKeithen then served on the Louisiana Public Service Commission from 1955 to 1964. He emerged successful in the 1954 Democratic primary for the PSC by defeating incumbent Harvey Broyles and a second opponent, Louis S. "Buck" Hooper (1902–1984). He was then unopposed in the general election. In that 1954 campaign, McKeithen argued for an investigation regarding the disparity in charges between in-state and out-of-state long-distance telephone calls, having noted that it was cheaper to call from Shreveport to Jackson, Mississippi, than from Shreveport to Monroe.
McKeithen represented Huey Long's old north Louisiana district, and emulated Long with his populist attacks on the Southern Bell Telephone Company. He was credited with preserving the traditional nickel telephone call, when most states had long gone to a dime or higher at pay phone outlets, a service now rare in the age of cellular phones . In the 1960 Democratic primary, McKeithen defeated Hooper once again.
When McKeithen left the PSC to become governor, he appointed John S. Hunt, III (1928–2001), of Monroe, a nephew of Governors Huey and Earl Long, to finish McKeithen's term. Hunt then won a six-year term on the PSC in the 1966 Democratic runoff primary by defeating State Representative John Sidney Garrett of Haynesville, thereafter McKeithen's choice as Speaker of the Louisiana House.
Election as governor, 1963–64
In his gubernatorial race, McKeithen retained the young political consultant Gus Weill to manage the campaign. A Lafayette native, Weill had earlier did similar work for McKeithen's predecessor, Jimmie Davis. After the election, Weill served during the first term as McKeithen's executive secretary.
In the first primary in December 1963, McKeithen faced a wide array of intraparty opponents, including former Governor Robert Kennon, segregationist Education Superintendent Shelby M. Jackson, and the Ku Klux Klan wizard Addison Roswell Thompson, a taxicab operator from New Orleans. Frank Voelker, Jr., of Lake Providence, the former chairman of the states' rights panel, the Louisiana Sovereignty Commission, ran too but soon withdrew to become Kennon's campaign manager. Kennon finished in fourth place in the primary. Three LSU scholars described McKeithen as he launched his first gubernatorial campaign, accordingly:
McKeithen is ... dependent on identification with the Longs for establishing himself initially in the campaign. His organizational supporters are much less impressive than those behind [U.S. Representative] Gillis Long. He is obviously intent on strengthening his Long identification by emphasis on his proximity to Earl Long and neutralizing Gillis Long's strength by tying him to the national party and localizing his own candidacy. . . . His potential for victory appears secondary to his capacity to split essential votes that might seriously injure Gillis Long's efforts. At the same time, the situation is fluid enough that McKeithen cannot be counted out altogether."
McKeithen, with Earl Long's widow, Blanche Long as his campaign manager, fought to win the backing of the still-influential 'Longite' forces. Despite his Longite background, McKeithen ran on a reform platform, promising to "clean up the mess in Baton Rouge." He also ran as a defender of segregation, having criticized the meddling of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Louisiana politics. McKeithen also benefited from grass-roots support generated by Aubrey W. Young of Monroe, an organizer for Alcoholics Anonymous who later worked to establish drug and alcohol treatment programs through the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
McKeithen emerged in the primary in second place to the frontrunner deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., with Gillis Long third and Robert Kennon fourth. In the runoff campaign, McKeithen rallied the supporters of fifth-place finisher Shelby Jackson by warning of the dangers of a NAACP "bloc vote" for Morrison. McKeithen won the runoff, 492,905 (52.2 percent) to 451,161 (47.8 percent). Though he had maintained segregation, he indicated that he welcomed African-American support in the primary.
McKeithen ran as a populist. The following quote from his 1963–64 campaign is preserved on his tomb:
"I wasn't born to material wealth, nor do I have claim to an aristocratic name. But if I am elected governor, it will prove that any mother's son can aspire to the highest political office of this state. I've come this far because you the people have given me your support – with all the professional politicians, power brokers and big money people fighting me every step of the way. Because I owe you so much, you can be assured when I raise my hand to take the oath of office as Governor of Louisiana, there will be a prayer in my heart that God will always guide me to do what is best for the state and all the people in it. We'll win this race, but I need your help. Won't you help me?"
Edward Kennon, a nephew of former Governor Robert Kennon and a Minden contractor who later held McKeithen's former seat on the Louisiana Public Service Commission, campaigned actively against McKeithen in the 1963–1964 gubernatorial race. Kennon recalled that McKeithen in the 1960 PSC campaign boasted of his support from both organized labor and its long-term president Victor Bussie and the NAACP. At the time candidates in Louisiana were identified on the ballot by race. McKeithen said, "There's room in Louisiana for all people, for all races. They must be treated with dignity and respect without ridicule and without abuse. In his campaign advertising, he railed against bloc voting by African Americans, which he said "results in government that is anti-business and which penalizes the man who is willing to work for a living."
McKeithen overcame the conservative Republican Party candidate Charlton Havard Lyons, Sr., a Shreveport oilman, in the first seriously contested Louisiana gubernatorial general election since Reconstruction. McKeithen defeated Lyons, 469,589 (60.7 percent) to 297,753 (37.5 percent), mostly due to his ending phrase "Won't you hep me?", the word 'hep' was designed as "help" in McKeithen's North Louisiana drawl. McKeithen seemed somewhat bitter that he had to face a Republican candidate after struggling through two hard-fought Democratic primaries but nevertheless congratulated the 69-year-old Lyons for the vigorous GOP campaign.
McKeithen as governor
McKeithen was first inaugurated in Baton Rouge on May 12, 1964. Judge James E. Bolin of Minden administered the oath of office. C. H. "Sammy" Downs, an aide and advisor to the governor, was the master of ceremonies for the festivities.
McKeithen's two terms as governor were characterized by economic expansion and job creation. He pushed for expansion of the state's industrial sector and called a special session to create a Labor Management Commission of Inquiry to resolve a strike in Baton Rouge early in his first term. He offered tax concessions to bring new industry to the state, particularly along the Mississippi River corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and conducted a "right to profit" campaign in 1966 and 1967. After antagonizing organized labor, threats were made on McKeithen's life, and a bomb exploded in the state senate chamber.
McKeithen signed legislation establishing a state code of ethics for elected and appointed public officials, the investment of idle funds to bring additional interest income to the state, and disclosure of the state's previously secret unclassified payroll, three proposals sponsored in the state House by Representative Joe Henry Cooper of Mansfield in DeSoto Parish in northwestern Louisiana.
When McKeithen was elected, Louisiana governors could still serve only one term. Governors had to sit out a term if they wished to seek second or third terms thereafter. McKeithen worked to end this practice; voters overwhelmingly approved his pet "Amendment 1" in the 1966 general election. Therefore, he could seek a second term in the 1967–1968 election cycle.
McKeithen named Aubrey Young as his aide-de-camp and as a colonel in the Louisiana State Police. He removed Young in 1967 after reports surfaced of a bribery attempt and involvement with mobster Carlos Marcello. Life Magazine indicates that when McKeithen threatened to fire Young over the proposed bribery, Young resigned.
McKeithen's other close advisors included former State Senator William R. "Billy" Boles, Sr., a high-powered Monroe attorney and banker, and Theodore "Ted" Jones, who advised him on the newly established Medicare program. McKeithen also depended heavily on Senator Sixty Rayburn of Bogalusa, a favorite of organized labor and the Democrat constituency groups. He named Leon Gary, former mayor of Houma, as his director of the Department of Public Works. In 1969, he named his executive counsel C. H. "Sammy" Downs to head public works, a post that Downs filled until 1972.
In 1967, McKeithen elevated Ralph Perlman, a business graduate of Columbia University in his native New York City to become the state budget director, a position that Perlman held for twenty-one years under four governors of both parties.
He named the Louisiana Tech University English professor Robert C. Snyder, who worked to establish the Lincoln Parish Library, to the state board of library commissioners. In 1967, McKeithen named retired Lieutenant General of the Air Force David Wade, who was reared in Claiborne Parish, as director of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. The next year, he assigned him as adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard.
McKeithen considered returning the colorful state Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc of Abbeville to the position of Senate President Pro Tempore, a slot that LeBlanc had filled from 1948 to 1952, when McKeithen himself was a state representative. McKeithen changed his mind after opposition developed because LeBlanc had been politically damaged in the 1950s by his promotion of the patent medicine Hadacol. Instead of choosing LeBlanc, McKeithen tapped E. W. Gravolet of Pointe à la Hache in Plaquemines Parish as the Louisiana Senate President Pro Tempore. Vail M. Delony of East Carroll Parish was the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives until his death in 1967, when the position passed to John Sidney Garrett of Claiborne Parish.
McKeithen recruited blacks into his administration, including Jesse N. Stone, a Bienville Parish native, whom he named to head the Louisiana Commission on Human Relations, Rights and Responsibilities. Stone was later the president of the Southern University System from 1974–1985.
Re-election campaign, 1967
McKeithen's reelection campaign of 1967 was, for all practical purposes, held on November 8, 1966, when voters approved his "pet" Amendment 1, which for the first time allowed Louisiana governors to succeed themselves—for one additional four-year term. They could also sit out a term and return for a third or fourth term thereafter, as Edwin Washington Edwards did in 1983 and 1991. McKeithen announced out-of-state at the Southern Governors Conference in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, in September 1966 that he would run again if Amendment 1 were approved.
Opponents of Amendment 1 included former Governor Jimmie Davis and two of his past political associates, legislative floor leader State Representative Risley C. Triche of Napoleonville and Fred W. Huenefeld, Jr. (born December 1929), Davis' welfare director from Monroe. McKeithen's rival from 1963, Gillis Long, also worked against the amendment. The supporters of Amendment 1 included Victor Bussie of the AFL-CIO, U.S. Senators Allen J. Ellender and Russell Long, the Republican physician Alton Ochsner of New Orleans, and most of the state newspapers, including the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Shreveport Times, and the since defunct Shreveport Journal.
In the 1967 primary, McKeithen was so popular that voters renominated him with ease. His main opponent was the conservative Indiana-born Sixth District freshman U.S. Representative John Rarick of St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish, who was backed by elements of the Ku Klux Klan. Rarick did not warm to rural voters, and his strict constitutionalist views did not appeal to many in the statewide electorate. People responded positively to McKeithen's folksy mannerisms and trademark "Won't you 'hep me?" appeal. Republicans did not even field a candidate for governor in the general election held on February 6, 1968. McKeithen worked to defeat a state senator in northwestern Louisiana. Harold Montgomery of Doyline was unseated after two terms by a challenger of the same surname but no relation, Minden attorney John Willard "Jack" Montgomery.
In 1968, McKeithen endorsed the election of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey for the U.S. presidency. He had been neutral in the 1964 contest between Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry M. Goldwater. The support for Humphrey brought McKeithen into conflict with backers of George C. Wallace, a former Democratic governor of Alabama who ran on the American Independent Party ticket, which opposed civil rights laws. McKeithen ally C. H. "Sammy" Downs worked in the Wallace campaign.
Second term as governor
During his second term, pushing for the construction of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans was one of McKeithen's priorities. Despite initial misgivings by many, McKeithen was responsible for moving approval of the Superdome project through the Legislature, arguing that the benefits of associated economic development would be worth the high cost.
On the Superdome and other issues, McKeithen faced the legislative opposition of a group of mostly young reformers known as the "Young Turks." One of their leaders was Robert G. "Bob" Jones, a state representative from Lake Charles and the son of former Governor Sam Houston Jones. Jones objected to state funding of the Superdome in New Orleans and many state bond projects. The Young Turks favored a "pay-as-you-go" approach, rather than too much bonded indebtedness. Jones himself would run unsuccessfully for governor in 1975.
In 1968, McKeithen launched a campaign to remove deadheads, or workers performing few productive tasks, from the state payroll. He faced a then $61 million shortfall in the upcoming budget. Thereafter, he pushed to fruition in 1970 a 2-cent sales tax increase to fund higher pay for teachers and state employees, and he worked to expand construction on many public college and university campuses. He reformed the Department of Corrections and improved conditions at Angola State Penitentiary.
In the summer of 1968, McKeithen's life was threatened after he began an investigation into labor-management racketeering. One man admitted to having received $5,000 to kill the governor. McKeithen's security was enlarged, and no further threats were reported.
In 1968, McKeithen suspended the controversial, colorful Sheriff Jessel Ourso of Iberville Parish, who was indicted in a repeated series of federal and state corruption charges. However, Ourso received acquittals or hung juries in all of them. He subsequently died in office in 1978 at the age of only forty-six.
McKeithen tapped freshman state Representative Chris Faser, Jr., of Baton Rouge, a confidant of former Governor Jimmie Davis, as the administration floor leader in the state House during the second term.
McKeithen's administration received criticism in the national press. Life magazine, through its writer David Chandler, claimed that the Mafia had influence in Louisiana's state government. Thirty-nine state and local officials were eventually indicted, but no ties were ever linked to McKeithen himself.
Our country has gone too far to protect individual rights of citizens. We are now protecting the very persons who are trying to destroy our country from within. Russia, with all its might, would not dare to try to destroy the United States by force, but we are allowing the radicals, the scum of the country, to begin to destroy us from within.
McKeithen and race
McKeithen, presiding over Louisiana during the turbulent civil rights era, had an ambiguous record on race relations. He had first been elected in 1964 as a segregationist, and race-baiting rhetoric was a major part of his campaign. He fought publicly with President Lyndon Johnson's Office of Economic Opportunity and tried to appoint segregationist Shelby Jackson to head the state's management of federal War on Poverty funds. As late as 1965, McKeithen publicly stated his support for segregation as the best system for Louisiana, but he later moderated his views on race relations.
He personally intervened to stem racial violence in Bogalusa in 1965 and created a Biracial Commission on Human Rights, Relations, and Responsibilities designed to ease tensions. He appointed Israel Augustine and Ernest "Dutch" Morial as Louisiana's first African-American judges since Reconstruction. But during 1967 disturbances, McKeithen took a hard line, threatening to have authorities shoot looters and rioters. McKeithen also later became a national spokesperson for the movement to oppose integration by busing school children.
John Martzell, a New Orleans lawyer who was executive secretary of the State Human Relations Commission from 1966 to 1972, said (in a New York Times obituary, June 5, 1999) that McKeithen's efforts to promote racial harmony remain little known.
"The most important thing he did came in a speech he delivered to the AFL-CIO convention in Baton Rouge in the summer of 1966", Martzell said.
"He pointed to some blacks in the audience and said, 'I know I'm not leaving this state, and I don't think you're leaving either. So we've got to solve our problem.' It was giving the imprimatur of the state Governor to solving racial differences. Previous governors had always proclaimed massive resistance to integration. He had a huge impact."
In 1969, McKeithen sent 250 Louisiana National Guard troops into Baton Rouge, where the Mayor-President, W. W. Dumas, had declared a curfew after rioting broke out following the fatal police shooting of a fleeing 17-year-old black suspect. Though the officer was temporarily suspended from the force, Dumas also took a hardline approach regarding such disturbances and said he would fully support police in such instances."
Former Governor George Wallace of Alabama urged McKeithen in 1967 to take the leadership against the civil rights movement, but he declined, having told Wallace, "I just don’t feel as strongly about it as you do, George."
In April 2016, after the passing of nearly a half century, The Monroe News-Star reported that McKeithen in 1965 sent $10,000 to Bogalusa to be divided equally between the Ku Klux Klan leadership and a black group, Deacons for Defense, to keep peace during racial demonstrations in Washington Parish. The payments "bought peace", said McKeithen's counselor, Gus Weill. The KKK and Deacons for Defense received payments, some of which came from McKeithen supporters, through the since defunct Fountain Insurance Agency in Baton Rouge, the owner of which was a member of the Louisiana Sovereignty Commission. This unnamed agent mailed "insurance checks" to the recipients' homes and was later reimbursed by the Sovereignty Commission, since disbanded. The late James C. Kelly, then the police chief in Monroe known for his opposition to the KKK, was himself a vessel for payments to Klan leaders. The Federal Bureau of Investigation noted that rank-and-file Klansmen were at first unaware of the payments to their leaders but began to question the loyalty of the leadership after it was lerned that Kelly had paid $200 to one Monroe leader, Houston Morris.
Edward F. Renwick, director of the Loyola University New Orleans Institute of Politics who followed McKeithen's career, credited him with four major accomplishments: the beginning of the end of segregation in Louisiana, the decision to build the Superdome, leadership in the passage of a state constitutional amendment that permits state governors to run for two four-year terms, and the emergence of consensus politics.
Prior to his leaving the governorship in the spring of 1972, McKeithen spoke before the AFL-CIO convention, aw which he attributed union president Victor Bussie with having helped him to achieve what McKeithen considered the landmarks of his tenure in office: industrial expansion, improved race relations, prison reform, and increases in the pay of teachers and state employees. The latter required an unpopular nincrease in 1970 from 2 to 3 cents in the state sales tax.
There were several instances of government corruption cases in the McKeithen administration. In January 1972, the former public works director C. H. "Sammy" Downs, a previous member of the Louisiana State Senate from Alexandria, was indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the sale of voting machines to the state. McKeithen's commissioner of administration, W. W. McDougall, was indicted for giving false statements to a grand jury in Alexandria concerning an investigation into insurance company kickbacks to state legislators. McKeithen told the union delegates that he abhorred corruption in government and seemed surprised that many citizens distrust elected officials:
There are too many people with evil minds and evil hearts that can't help but believe that anybody in public office can't help but steal everything that isn't nailed down.
After he left office in the spring of 1972, McKeithen soon sought the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of long-term Democratic incumbent Allen J. Ellender. The filing deadline had closed for the Democratic primary; so he ran as an Independent in the general election — a development which put him in the difficult position of having to explain to Democratic registrants, the large majority of the Louisiana electorate at the time, why they should vote for him even though in 1963 he had cited party affiliation as a reason why registered Democrats should support MKeithen against the Republican Lyons. He lost to the Democratic nominee, former Louisiana state Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., as Richard M. Nixon and Spiro T. Agnew were easily carrying Louisiana for the Republicans. The Republican Senate nominee in the contest was Ben C. Toledano, a lawyer and journalist who had sought the office of mayor of New Orleans in 1970. A fourth candidate was Hall Lyons, a Lafayette oilman and the younger son of Charlton Lyons. Hall Lyons left the Louisiana GOP to run as the senatorial nominee of the American Independent Party, the former vehicle used by George C. Wallace of Alabama to run for U.S. President in 1968 against Nixon and Hubert Humphrey.
In 1983, Governor David C. Treen, a Republican, appointed the Democrat McKeithen to the LSU Board of Supervisors, a position that he held until 1988, when he resigned, citing exhaustion and a heavy work schedule. In his later years, McKeithen practiced law in Columbia and in Baton Rouge with his granddaughter, Marjorie, who was named for her grandmother. In 1991, McKeithen made headlines by resigning from his local country club after it barred a black high school golfer from playing in a tournament there.
McKeithen became a close friend of the journalist Sam Hanna, Sr., publisher of the Franklin Sun in Winnsboro, the Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, and later The Ouachita Citizen in West Monroe. The McKeithens' younger son, W. Fox McKeithen (1946–2005), was a member of the Louisiana legislature (1984–1988) and secretary of state (1988–2005). Fox McKeithen switched his party allegiance from Democratic to Republican after his first election as secretary of state in 1987, much to the surprise of his staunchly Democratic father and daughter, who ran for Louisiana's 6th congressional district seat in Baton Rouge in 1998. On the premature death of Fox McKeithen in 2005, Hanna wrote a moving column about his relationship to the McKeithen family.
McKeithen is interred in the private Hogan Cemetery, which bears the same name as their estate. Three of the other four graves at the site off Louisiana Highway 559 are Mrs. McKeithen and the couple's two sons, Jesse Jay McKeithen and Walter Fox McKeithen. Behind the graves is a wooded area alongside scenic Long Lake.
In the popular web-based alternate history story Fear, Loathing, and Gumbo, McKeithen is presented as a 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who wins the nomination, rather than it being won by the real-life nominee, Senator George McGovern. In the story, McKeithen nearly defeats President Nixon in the general election; however, his candidacy, combined with the real-life efforts of third-party candidate George McGovern who draws the support of many anti-war leftists, results in the 1972 election being forced into the U.S. House of Representatives—with unintended results that include the elevation of Vice President Spiro Agnew to the presidency, the death of McKeithen in a plane crash, the eventual rise to the presidency of a reformed Wallace and Donald Rumsfeld, and the fracturing of the two party system.
- Affirmed on the John McKeithen obelisk gravestone, Hogan Cemetery, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana
- Information on Marjorie McKeithen gravestone, Hogan Cemetery, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana
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- Patrick Richoux. "Records: McKeithen arranged KKK payments to keep peace". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
- "McKeithen Says He Is a Lover, Not a Fighter", Minden Press-Herald, April 11, 1972, p. 8
- "'As long as people run, stealing will occur', says Downs", Minden Press-Herald, March 30, 1972, p. 1
- "McDougall Resigns Administration Post", Minden Press-Herald, March 8, 1972, p. 1
- Benjamin J. Guthrie & W. Pat Jennings (1973). "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 7, 1972" (PDF). p. 18. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
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- "Press Association honors the late Sam Hanna, Sr., May 18, 2006". ouachitacitizen.com. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
- "Fear, Loathing, and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72". alternatehistory.com. Retrieved March 21, 2010.
- Dawson, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1990.
- Miriam G. Reeves. The Governors of Louisiana. Pelican, 1998.
- Charles W. Tapp. "The Gubernatorial Election of 1964: An Affirmation of Political Trends." Louisiana Academy of Sciences XXVII (1964)
- "McKeithen: a great salesman for Louisiana" Baton Rouge State-Times/Morning Advocate, June 5, 1999.
- State of Louisiana – Biography
- Encyclopedia Louisiana entry on John McKeithen
|Louisiana House of Representatives|
V. E. Claunch
|Louisiana State Representative for Caldwell Parish
Johnnie W. Calton
|Louisiana Public Service Commissioner for the former District 3 (North Louisiana)
John S. Hunt, III
|Governor of Louisiana
May 12, 1964–May 9, 1972