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Independent Democrats oppose KKK


On this day in 1922, a mass meeting of "Independent Democrats" in Dallas selected Houston lawyer George Peddy to run for the United States senate. The splinter group reflected opposition to the remarkable resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. After the nomination of KKK candidate Earle Bradford Mayfield for senator in the 1922 Democratic primary and after the state Democratic convention in San Antonio, where it appeared to many that the Ku Klux Klan had gained control of the party, anti-Klan Democrats sought out Peddy to oppose Mayfield. Peddy had campaigned for James E. Ferguson as the anti-Klan candidate in the primaries. Mayfield and regular Democratic forces succeeded in keeping Peddy's name off the ballot; however, the Independent Democrats failed to have Mayfield removed from the ballot on the grounds that his endorsement by and presumed membership in the KKK disqualified him as a Democrat and precluded his honoring the senatorial oath. Republican endorsement of Peddy also failed to win him a place on the ballot. Depending entirely on write-in votes, Peddy ran a surprisingly strong race, polling one-third (130,744 to 264,260) of the vote. Peddy challenged Mayfield's election, and the subsequent Senate investigation delayed Mayfield's seating until December 1923.

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