Cordell Hull & the Election of 1920

Cordell Hull & the Election of 1920

By Ray Hill Cordell Hull had been in Congress since 1907 when he had only narrowly won the Democratic nomination, which inside Tennessee’s Fourth Congressional district was tantamount to election. Hull, only thirty-seven years old at the time, had been nominated by less than twenty votes. There were rumblings about a recount, but Hull went […]

Cordell Hull & the 1922 Election

Cordell Hull & the 1922 Election

By Ray Hill Cordell Hull, for fourteen years the congressman from Tennessee’s Fourth District, had lost his reelection bid in the 1920 Republican landslide. Tennessee had lost three longtime incumbents during the 1920 elections: besides Cordell Hull, Thetus W. Sims of Tennessee’s Eighth District and John A. Moon of the Third District had been beaten. […]

Cordell Hull & the Income Tax

Cordell Hull & the Income Tax

By Ray Hill Congressman Cordell Hull of Tennessee is frequently credited with being the “Father of the Income Tax.”  Today, that is likely a dubious distinction.  When the income tax was first approved in 1913, the tax code was fifteen pages long.  Today, the tax code is more than 74,000 pages.  Hull first came to […]

Ray Blanton, Part 5

Ray Blanton, Part 5

By Ray Hill Ray Blanton had achieved his long sought after goal of winning statewide office in Tennessee with his victory in the 1974 general election. Blanton had defeated Republican Lamar Alexander decisively in winning the governorship. Ray Blanton had always campaigned as a populist, putting together a coalition that encompassed traditional Democratic voting blocs. […]

Ray Blanton, Part 4

Ray Blanton, Part 4

Ray Blanton emerged from the 1974 primary as the Democratic nominee for governor of Tennessee. It had been a contentious primary in with twelve men competing for the nomination. Blanton had barely edged banker Jake Butcher to be the nominee. The Republicans had their own primary with Nat Winston, Dortch Oldham and Lamar Alexander running […]

Ray Blanton, Part Three

Ray Blanton, Part Three

By Ray Hill After having lost the 1972 race for the U. S. Senate to incumbent Howard Baker by a wide margin, Ray Blanton found himself out of Congress. Blanton returned to Tennessee and immediately began planting the seeds for an expected bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1974. Democrats were shocked by the […]

Ray Blanton, Part Two

Ray Blanton, Part Two

By Ray Hill Tennessee had lost a congressional district in the redistricting in 1971.  Congressmen Ray Blanton and William Anderson, both Democrats, would likely have run against one another if both sought reelection.  Anderson flirted with a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination while Blanton had his sights set on the Senate seat held by […]

Ray Blanton, Part One

Ray Blanton, Part One

By Ray Hill Ray Blanton is little remembered today save for one thing: the corruption of his administration. Compared to many of Tennessee’s more significant historical figures, Blanton’s political career was not long, but it was impossible not to notice the man who became governor. While Ray Blanton was considered by many to be a […]

Senator Howard Baker, Part Eleven

Senator Howard Baker, Part Eleven

By Ray Hill Senator Howard Baker entered the fall general election after having followed a strategy of organizing early and avoiding controversy. Baker’s opponent, Jane Eskind, had won the Democratic primary by self-funding and had tried to take advantage of the senator’s support for the Panama Canal Treaty. The treaty was not popular in many […]

Senator Howard Baker, Part Ten

Senator Howard Baker, Part Ten

By Ray Hill Senator Howard Baker had seen several election cycles diminish Republican gains in 1974 and 1976. Democrats were optimistic about continued success and Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Ned Ray McWherter was asked by President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale to run against the Minority Leader when Baker came […]