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By Bartee Haile

A century ago this week on Jul. 27, 1918, Texas Democrats had one and only one choice for United States Senator – the incumbent, Morris Sheppard. Joseph Weldon Bailey ended the suspense in the summer of 1911 by declaring he would not seek another six years in the Senate. Compromised by corrupt connections with corporate cronies, the shining star of Lone Star politics had forever lost his luster.

The anticlimactic announcement started a yearlong calf scramble for the open seat. Of the four who filed, only two rated as serious contenders: Jacob Wolters, spokesman for the “wet” side in the rancorous debate over booze, and Congressman Morris Sheppard, undisputed champion of the “dry’ cause.


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