Hayes C. McClerkin

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Hayes Candour McClerkin, Jr. ​

Speaker of the
Arkansas House of Representatives​
In office
January 1, 1969​ – December 31, 1970​
Preceded by Sterling Robertson
Cockrill, Jr.
Succeeded by Ray S. Smith, Jr.​

Arkansas State Representative
for Miller County (Texarkana)​
In office
January 1, 1961​ – December 31, 1970​
Succeeded by David G. Orr​

Born December 16, 1931​
Texarkana, Arkansas​
Died January 6, 2016 (aged 84)​
Texarkana, Arkansas​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Lillian Riggs McClerkin​
Children Martha, Katherine, Lauren

Hayes Candour, Sr., and Orlean Malony McClerkin​

Alma mater Washington and Lee University​

University of Arkansas Law School​

Profession Attorney, businessman

Hayes Candour McClerkin, Jr. (December 16, 1931 – January 6, 2016), was an American attorney and politician who served as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1961 to 1970 and as House Speaker from 1969 to 1970. He succeeded Speaker Sterling Robertson Cockrill, Jr. (born 1925) of the capital city of Little Rock,[1] who in 1970 switched parties and ran as the unsuccessful Republican nominee for lieutenant governor.


A native of Texarkana, the seat of government for his native Miller County, McClerkin was the only child of Hayes Candour McClerkin, Sr. (1893–1942) and the former Orlean Malony (1893–1981), daughter of Ed and Jennie Malony of Monticello in Drew County in southeastern Arkansas. McClerkin was married to the former Lillian Riggs (born 1936), a 1958 graduate of Randolph College, formerly Randolph-Macon of Lynchburg, Virginia. She is the daughter of John Albert Riggs and the former Martha Williamson. There are three McClerkin daughters, Martha, Katherine, and Lauren.

McClerkin received his Bachelor of Science degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He was a 1953 class agent for his alma mater.[2] In 1959, he received his L.L.B. degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville. He was a member of the American and Arkansas bar associations and Delta Theta Phi.[3]

McClerkin worked as a commercial and environmental lawyer in Texarkana in southwestern Arkansas.[3]​ ​


McClerkin did not seek a sixth term in the House in 1970. Instead he ran in the Democratic gubernatorial primary election in hope of challenging the GOP incumbent Winthrop Rockefeller, who sought a third two-year term. He finished fourth in the primary with 45,011 votes (10.5 percent). State Attorney General Joe Edward Purcell (1923-1987) ran third with 81,566 votes (18.9 percent). The top two candidates, former Governor Orval E. Faubus of Huntsville in Madison County and Dale Bumpers of Charleston in Franklin County, near Fort Smith, led the field with 156,578 votes (36.4 percent) and 86,156 (20.0 percent), respectively. In the runoff election, Bumpers, using the "Time for a Change" theme, soundly defeated Faubus, 58.7 to 41.3 percent,[4] and then easily unseated Rockefeller in the general election. Thereafter McClerkin supported Bumpers for governor and also for the United States Senate, to which Bumpers was initially elected in 1974. Coincidentally, McClerkin died five days after the passing of Bumpers on January 1, 2016.​

In the gubernatorial campaign, McClerkin questioned Rockefeller's "list" of college and university campus militants in Arkansas, prepared by a security investigator for the governor. McClerkin claimed that the list could be used to discredit persons "who may be guilty of no more than a disagreement with the governor."[5] The American Association of University Professors also condemned the list, and Rockefeller soon regreted that he had ever revealed its existence.[6] The list drew support from some conservatives who viewed it as a feasible way to halt troublemakers and traveling campus militants.[7] Sterling Cockrill switched parties and ran for lieutenant governor in 1970 on Rockefeller's losing ticket, but he was defeated by the Democrat​ Bob Cowley Riley (1924-1994) of Arkadelphia in Clark County in south Arkansas.

McClerkin was a boyhood friend of Ross Perot, the Texarkana native and Texas billionaire who ran for the American presidency in 1992 and 1996.[8]

McClerkin was a member of the board of directors of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance.[9] He was the president of the Miller County Abstract Company.[10] Later in his career, he was an aide to liberal Democratic Governor James Guy "Jim Guy" Tucker, Jr., who succeeded Bill Clinton when Clinton became U.S. President in 1993.[1] McClerkin was a donor to former U.S. Representative and gubernatorial candidate Michael Avery "Mike" Ross, a Democrat from Prescott who like McClerkin is a native of Texarkana.[11]

In 2004, McClerkin published Shortcuts to Life's Secrets: The Collected Thoughts of Hayes McClerkin, which uses the theme: "Life is like a yo-yo with lots of ups and downs. The important thing is not to let the string break."[12] McClerkin died early in 2016 at the age of eighty-four.[1]

Former Governor Tucker paid tribute to McClerkin: He was always looking for a way, legislatively, in his service and as well as an adviser to me, to find a way to do something that produced a good result. It might mean compromising in a number of ways, but the objective was to come together and pass something that would work."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Spencer Willems (January 7, 2016). '69 House speaker, McClerkin, 84, dies: He was gubernatorial aide to Tucker. arkansasonline.com. Retrieved on December 13, 2019.
  2. Washington and Lee University: Undergraduate Class Agents. Washington and Lee University (May 16, 2008). Retrieved on December 13, 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hayes C. McClerkin. attorneyslisted.com. Retrieved on June 26, 2010; no longer on-line.
  4. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (Washington, D.C., 2010), p. 1668.
  5. The Arkansas Democrat, January 3, 1970.
  6. The Arkansas Democrat, January 8, 1970.
  7. John L. Ward, The Arkansas Rockefeller (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1978), p. 167-168, 175.
  8. Tom Furlong (June 10, 1992). Perot as Hometown Hero: Just Don't Get in His Way. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on December 13, 2019.
  9. Board of Directors of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. arkansasbluecross.com. Retrieved on June 26, 2010; no longer on-line.
  10. Miller County Abstract Company. millercountyabstract.com. Retrieved on June 26, 2010; material no longer on-line.
  11. [http://www.city-data.com/elec2/08/elec-TEXARKANA-TX-08.html ​ Texarkana Political Contributions by Individuals]. city-data.com. Retrieved on December 13, 2019.
  12. Hayes C. McClerkin, Shortcuts to Life's Secrets: The Collected Thoughts of Hayes McClerkin (Martinsburg, West Virginia: Mountain State Publishing, 2004) ISBN 0-9747005-3-3.