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LBJ Visits Sen. Yarborough

Jan. 6, 1964 - The political reconciliation of President Johnson and Texas Senator Ralph Yarborough (pictured left with then Vice President Johnson and Sarah T. Hughes in 1961) was sealed today when the President paid a personal call to the Senator’s home in Austin, Texas. Before the assassination of President Kennedy in November, it had been widely presumed in Texas that Mr. Johnson, then Vice President, would back a less liberal opponent against Senator Yarborough in this spring’s Democratic primary. When former Representative Lloyd Bentsen Jr. of Houston announced last week that he would not enter the Democratic primary, politicians speculated that President Johnson was clearing the field for Senator Yarborough as a gesture toward harmony. Senator Yarborough was frankly pleased today by the “wonderful visit” he had with the President, who stopped at the Senator’s home on his way back to Washington from the LBJ Ranch. Mr. Yarborough was also pleased by the lack so far of major opposition to his reelection. “But I would have supported unity for the national ticket in 1964 whether anyone ran against me in the primary or not,” he said.

Senator Yarborough was the only significant party leader in the state not to back Mr. Johnson for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1960. With the spirit of harmony in the air today, the Senator suggested that his supposed feuding with Mr. Johnson had been “ballooned out of all proportion to its importance.” For example, he said, news accounts stated that he had refused to ride with Vice President Johnson in November during the Presidential tour of Texas that preceded the assassination. “Arrangements had already been made for me to ride with Representative Henry Gonzalez in San Antonio and Representative Albert Thomas in Houston,” he said. “When a Secret Service man told me in Houston that I was to share the Vice President’s car, I told him that I had made previous plans. I rode, after all, in three different parades with Vice President Johnson during that tour, including 15 miles in Fort Worth.”

Mr. Yarborough won his Senate seat in a 1957 special election and was elected to a full term in 1958. He is backed in Texas by the labor organizations and minority groups whose votes Mr. Johnson must win nationally to guarantee his reelection.


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