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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Maury Maverick, October 27, 1975. Interview A-0323. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Running against Henry B. Gonzalez for United States Senate

Maverick discusses his 1961 campaign against Henry B. Gonzalez during the special election to fill Lyndon B. Johnson's vacant seat in the Senate. In retrospect, Maverick says that he and Gonzalez, both liberal candidates, should have collaborated and worked together to put one of them in office, rather than opposing one another and ultimately splitting the liberal vote. Maverick especially emphasizes the role of Chicano voters in that process. Finally, Maverick ruminates about whether or not he might have had a different stance on the Vietnam War, had he been elected, while arguing that the influence of the Pentagon in San Antonio was an important factor in Texas politics.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Maury Maverick, October 27, 1975. Interview A-0323. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
A lot of liberals back in 1961 were kind of appalled to see both you and Henry B. Gonzalez, both well-known liberals, running against each other on the ticket there in that special Senatorial election. What is and what was your relation with Henry Gonzalez and what effect did that have?
MAURY MAVERICK:
We have sort of an Alphonse and Gaston relationship. We're polite to each other. He and I should have talked to one another. That taught me something about vanity. He wouldn't talk to me and I wouldn't talk to him. What I should have done and what he should have done, is pick up the telephone and say, "Look Henry, you get out of the race or I'll get out of the race —we'll flip." In retrospect, I know I should have done that, but it was two liberals who were too proud and too vain and too foolish to talk to one another. That was a jackass stunt on my part and it was on Henry's, too. I don't know how to explain that. It is just one of those things, sort of like two college professors in the same department that are good guys and won't talk to one another and are damn fools. That happens to you teachers all the time and it happened to me. It was a mistake.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
But both of you were very similar in your political beliefs?
MAURY MAVERICK:
Yes, but I think…yes, I think so. You see, Henry wiped me out in San Antonio among the Mexicans where I had been strong and my father was strong. That polished me off from going to Congress.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
That particular race did?
MAURY MAVERICK:
Yes. That ended my chances of going to the U.S. House of Representatives.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Well, if you had gone, you would probably have gone from the seat that Henry now has.
MAURY MAVERICK:
I would have gone from the seat that Henry has gone from, but it would have been interesting to see what I would have done with this Pentagon-oriented society. I often wonder whether I would have been a hawk on Vietnam if I had been in Congress because Henry was a very studied hawk on Vietnam. He would come down in Air Force One and he was a hawk against Castro and he was a Hawk on the Dominican Republic and I don't know what the hell I would have been. Because, it is one thing not to be in Congress and talk about it and another thing to be there.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
You are suggesting that his hawkishness here might have had something to do with what you call "San Antonio's Pentagon economy?"
MAURY MAVERICK:
Yes. You know, this whole town makes its living off the Pentagon. I made my living off the Pentagon by fighting it. I made maybe $500 or $750 a case when other lawyers were making $3000 to $15,000 a case, but whatever living I was making, I was making off the Pentagon as an enemy of the Pentagon. We all live off the Pentagon in San Antonio.