Wednesday, April 29, 2015

RIP Dan Walker

An interesting and innovative populist candidate (he walked the entire length of the state), a reformer who lost a political knife-fight with the Daley Machine --
The enmity between Walker and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's political organization was deep. In 1974, Walker supported state legislative candidates against Daley allies. Walker's deputy governor, Victor deGrazia, later said: "... I knew from the beginning that every time Daley looked at Walker, he saw the Church of England and the British suppression of the Irish, and when Dan would look at Daley, he would see the quintessential politician who was only interested in political gain."

In 1976 Walker was defeated in the Democratic primary, losing to Secretary of State Michael Howlett, the candidate supported by Mayor Daley, by a 54% to 46% margin. In the general election, Howlett was overwhelmingly defeated by James R. Thompson.
-- and became one of Illinois' many, many, many elected officials who did time in a House of Many Doors for forgetting that stuff about not breaking the the law.

From the Southern Illinoisian:
Illinois' 36th governor Dan Walker dead at 92 
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois' 36th governor was remembered Wednesday as an energetic but confrontational chief executive who would later join the state's legion of elected officials who have served time in prison.

Dan Walker, who served as governor from 1973 to 1976, died at his home in California Wednesday. He was 92.

Ushered into office after a populist campaign that included a nearly 1,197-mile walk across the state, the one-term governor ran into a buzz saw of controversy with the General Assembly. Although elected as a reformer, leaders of the House and Senate characterized the lawyer as arrogant and uncompromising, hampering his ability to carry out his initiatives.

His relationship with his fellow Democrats fizzled and he lost his reelection bid in a stunning primary defeat to Michael Howlett. His departure from politics in 1977 ushered in a quarter century of Republican control of the governor's office.

Ten years after leaving office, Walker served 18 months in a federal lock-up for bank fraud unrelated to his time as governor.

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