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The Day Richard Nixon Entered Politics … as a “Liberal”

Alex Constantine - January 3, 2014

Photo: (L-R) Richard Nixon and WInston Churchill, Washington, DC, 1954

Herman Perry’s Letter to Richard Nixon

On September 29, 1945, Bank of America VP Herman Perry penned a letter to Richard Nixon asking him to vie for a seat in the House of Representatives. The Nixon Foundation notes:  "At the time, incumbent Democrat Jerry Voorhis was representing the 12th congressional district of California. Nixon was a young up-and-coming attorney, a graduate of Duke University Law School, and a naval officer during World War II who had returned to his hometown of Whittier to work at an established law firm."

“I am writing this short note to ask you if you would like to be a candidate for Congress on the Republican ticket in 1946,” Perry wrote. “Jerry Voorhis expects to run—registration is about 50-50. The Republicans are gaining. Please airmail me your reply if you are interested.”

On October 6, 1945, Nixon drafted his letter of acceptance: “I feel very strongly that Jerry Voorhis can be beaten and I’d welcome the opportunity to take a crack at him. An aggressive, vigorous campaign on a platform of practical liberalism should be the antidote the people have been looking for to take the place of Voorhis’ particular brand of New Deal idealism. You can be sure that I’ll do everything possible to win if the party gives me the chance to run,” he wrote. “I’m sure that I can hold my own with Voorhis on the speaking platform, and without meaning to toot my own horn, I believe I have the fight, spirit and background which can beat him.”

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