U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson Career Before Presidency Part 3

About the U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, early life and career before the presidency, history and biography, physical description.

36th President

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON

BEFORE THE PRESIDENCY

Years later, even Landslide Lyndon himself was able to make jokes about this controversial election. He liked to tell the story of a small Mexican-American boy who was found crying in the streets of a Texas town. A neighbor asked the boy what was the matter, and the child complained that his father hadn't come to see him. "Why, son," the neighbor declared, "you know your daddy's been dead these last six years!" "I know," said the boy, "but he came back last Tuesday to vote for Lyndon Johnson, and he didn't even stop to see me." However, new controversy brewed as late as July, 1977, when Luis Salas, a 76-year-old Mexican-American who had been an election judge in Jim Wells County, Tex., stepped forward with a confession. He stated that in 1948 Johnson had made a direct appeal to Texas political boss George Parr--known as the Duke of Duval--to falsify the voting records in the senatorial race. According to Salas, Johnson pleaded, "If I can get 200 more votes, I've got it won." Salas said that Parr had ordered 202 extra votes added to Johnson's tally in Jim Wells County--enough to ensure his success. A former FBI agent present at the time, T. Kellis Dibrell, lent support to Salas's story by declaring that he had seen the additional votes, listed in alphabetical order, which "stuck out like a sore thumb." Continued Dibrell, "The last 202 names were made with the same colored ink and in the same handwriting, whereas the earlier names in the poll list were written by different individuals and in different color inks." A week after Salas's statement, however, eight boxes of material bearing on the 1948 election were retrieved from the LBJ Library archives and opened. In one of the boxes, an undated, unsigned statement was found which was obviously meant to be made public if necessary. The statement read in part: "I am without knowledge concerning the ballots in either Duval, Jim Wells or Zapata counties, or any of the other counties in Texas.... I have not been to any of the counties and have not conferred with the officials in those counties.... My present Republican opponent [Jack Porter] ... has been diligently trying to get election officials in some of the border counties to change the returns as legally and properly canvassed by proper election officials. Beyond that, he is trying to create sufficient smear in the hopes that the Republicans may be enabled to control the next Senate."

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