Maverick Bounces Back

WHEN MAURY MAVERICK was defeated for reëlection to Congress last July his enemies felt they had cooked his political goose to an enduring brown. A conservative city, San Antonio had sent him to Congress not because he was a liberal, but in spite of his being a liberal. A great many people, however, who had voted for him because they liked him personally, had become afraid of his ideas, and wanted him out of office. Maverick himself wrote after the primary that the surprising thing was not that he had been defeated for reëlection, but that he had ever been elected in the first place.

His enemies are now much less sure that they have finally disposed of Maury Maverick. For he is a candidate for mayor of San Antonio, and he appears likely to win the election on May 9.

The San Antonio city machine, which defeated Maverick last July, goes into the campaign badly split. All winter it was under severe fire, and as soon as it was obvious that Maverick would make a strong race, the machine leaders began scurrying for cover.

When the city commissioners cast Mayor C. K. Quin aside, the mayor put himself at the head of his own complete ticket. The commissioners attempted to form a complete ticket, too, but failed, and each commissioner is now struggling to save his own job. A third mayoralty candidate is Leroy Jeffers, who as an associate of Paul J. Kilday, Maverick's successor in Congress, has some claim to the remnants of the city machine. There are some minor candidates, but the race lies among Maverick, Quin and Jeffers. Since all three are strong candidates, the election will probably be decided by a plurality.

Maverick has a better chance than either Quin or Jeffers to get that plurality. He lost in July by only 493 votes out of 49,151, and many people who were afraid of Maverick in Congress are not afraid of Maverick in the city hall. He will have strong labor support, especially from the CIO. Federal office-holders will vote for him. The sheriff and some other county officials who were against him last July have announced their support. Besides, he has espoused the city-manager plan, which will appeal to many conservative voters who believe in the reform of the city government.

The Mexican vote will be important. Formerly it was bought and sold by the city machine like sacks of potatoes. But in the last few years the Mexicans, of whom there are 93,000 in San Antonio, or roughly 40 percent of the population, have become politically conscious. Last July they broke away from the city machine to vote in large numbers for Maverick. They will do so again on May 9. It is true that the Mexican vote is not entirely a political asset in San Antonio, where racial feeling is so bitter that some Anglo-Americans will vote against Maverick just because the Mexicans are voting for him. Nevertheless, the likelihood that 70 percent of the Mexicans will vote for Maverick is an important reason why he has a good chance to win.

Another reason is that Maverick is making an intelligent campaign. Like LaGuardia in New York City, he is hammering away at the idea that social theories play only a small role in city government. San Antonio, wearied of machine government, seems in a mood to listen. His opponents say that if he wins he won't stop at city hall long enough to warm the mayor's chair, but will be off to Washington at the first opportunity. Maverick replies that he is running for mayor, nothing else. Even so, the San Antonio city hall will not hold him forever.

Sherwood Anderson, The New Republic, May 10, 1939

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