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By Bartee Haile

With Election Day just two weeks away, Sen. Charles Culberson spent Oct. 21, 1916 doing what he did best — nothing. Why bother campaigning when a fourth term was already in the bag? Looking for an appealing replacement for Gov. Jim Hogg in 1895, power broker E.M. House picked the handsome attorney general. Although his glaring lack of principles moved one politician to observe that 40 year old Charlie Culberson “would be all right if he had a little more iron down his backbone,” Colonel House considered the shortcoming an asset rather than a liability.

Following his mentor’s meticulous plan, the Democratic nominee survived a strong Populist challenge to win the gubernatorial election of 1894 with 55 percent of the popular vote. He took the oath of office in the tenth and final congressional term of his father, David Culberson.


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