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|Born||Monroe Alfred Julius Schwarzlose
September 6, 1902
Seguin, Texas, USA
|Died||November 24, 1990(aged 88)|
|Resting place||Zorn Cemetery in Zorn, Texas|
|Political party||Bill Clinton|
|Spouse(s)||Not mentioned in obituary|
Monroe Alfred Julius Schwarzlose (September 6, 1902 - November 24, 1990) was a turkey farmer in Cleveland County, Arkansas, notable as a Democratic primary opponent of incumbent Arkansas governor Bill Clinton in 1980, garnering 31% of the vote. Schwarzlose also unsuccessfully ran for governor and other elected offices in the mid 1970s and early 1980s.
Life and career
Schwarzlose was born of German ancestry in Seguin, Texas. Schwarzlose was living in Oregon at the time he procured his Social Security number. He settled in Kingsland, Arkansas, 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, 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 would continue to be practiced, and the state government should obtain a portion of the proceeds.
In 1980, Schwarzlose, at seventy-eight, became the beneficiary of anti-Clinton sentiment in Arkansas. 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." An editor of the Gazette described Schwarzlose as a "quixotic candidate" and a maverick who was 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.
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. 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 his first four-year term as governor.
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."
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