|!||This article was revised from Wikipedia but the text was originally written by BHathorn (under the name) and does not include alterations made by others from that site.|
|Aylmer Lynn Lowe|
Republican Party State Chairman
December 1974 – June 1980
|Preceded by||Jim Caldwell|
|Succeeded by||Jeraldine D. Pruden (interim)|
Republican National Committeeman from Arkansas
June 1980 – 1988
|Preceded by||John Paul Hammerschmidt|
|Succeeded by||Robert "Bob" Leslie|
|Born|| March 6, 1936|
Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas, USA
|Died||August 14, 2010 (aged 74)|
|Resting place||Lowe farm in Miller County|
|Political party||Republican |
|Spouse(s)||Nedra Jean Bledsoe |
|Children|| Michael Lynn Lowe|
Evelyn Ruth Lowe
|Alma mater|| Garland City (Arkansas) High School|
Southern Arkansas University
|Religion||Lutheran - Missouri Synod|
For more than a quarter century, Lowe was a pioneer in the attempt to establish a two-party system in the historically Democratic state of Arkansas. Since his death, the state moved primarily into the Republican column.
Aylmer Lynn Lowe, known as Lynn Lowe (March 6, 1936 – August 14, 2010), was an American farmer and politician from Garland in Miller County in southwestern Arkansas, who was a leading figure in his state's Republican Party. He was the gubernatorial nominee in 1978 against the Democrat Bill Clinton, served as state party chairman from 1974 to 1980, and was the GOP candidate in Arkansas's 4th congressional district in 1966, having been defeated by the Democrat David Pryor, then a state representative but a future governor of Arkansas and U.S. Senator.
Lowe was born in Texarkana in Miller County to Jesse Luther Lowe, Sr. (1890–1967), and the former Ruth McKinley (1894–1987), originally from Waldo in Nevada County in southern Arkansas. He graduated from Garland High School and attended Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia for two years before he received in 1959 his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He farmed his entire life near the Red River and for a time also raised cattle.
Lowe was married to the former Nedra Jean Bledsoe, originally from Boyce in northern Rapides Parish to the north of Alexandria in central Louisiana. The Bledsoes relocated to Miller County, where Jena's father operated a cotton gin. Lynn and Jean Lowe have a son, Michael Lynn Lowe (born 1959, also a farmer, and wife, Diana; two daughters, Ruth Evelyn Lowe of Garland City and Martha Lowe Robertson and husband, Chris, of Little Rock, and three grandchildren. Lynn Lowe had a surviving brother Robert McKinley Lowe of Weems, Virginia, and two sisters Jean Davis of Mesa, Arizona, and Dot Fisher of Ames, Iowa. He was predeceased by a brother, Jesse Luther Lowe, Jr. Lowe was long active in the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church in Texarkana, Texas.
A lifelong Republican, Lowe served from 1962 to 1964 as the Republican chairman for Arkansas' 4th congressional district. In 1962, he worked in the campaign of the Little Rock physician Kenneth to 1966. In 1966, he ran for the U.S. House seat when the incumbent, Oren Harris of El Dorado resigned in February to accept appointment from U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and confirmation by the U.S. Senate as judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, based in Fort Smith. A special election was held simultaneously with the regular 1966 general election to fill the few weeks left in Harris' unexpired term. The seat was hence vacant from February to November 1966.
Pryor first won a hard-fought Democratic primary against the Texarkana attorney Richard S. Arnold, then a son-in-law and a brother-in-law of the media owners Walter E. Hussman, Sr., and Walter E. Hussman, Jr. In the general election, Pryor carried all twenty counties, including Lowe's Miller County, which gave the Republican only 46.8 percent though it had supported Republican gubernatorial nominee Winthrop Rockefeller against the more conservative Democrat (later Republican) James D. Johnson. Pryor received 86,887 votes (65 percent) to Lowe's 46,804 (35 percent). Lowe ran as a |conservative and refused to deny or confirm reports that he had formerly belonged to the John Birch Society. Lowe had told voters that they could repudiate President Johnson in 1966, when Johnson's name was not on the ballot, by supporting the Republican congressional campaign. He urged "local determination of local problems", and David Pryor stressed his record as one of the "Young Turks" of the Arkansas House of Representatives.
In 1978, Lowe, midway in his tenure as state party chairman, ran unopposed for the party's gubernatorial nomination. No other prominent figure stepped forward for the task of challenging Bill Clinton, who had been unopposed in the general election of 1976 for the office of state attorney general. Many seemed to have thought that Clinton had won the governorship merely by winning the Democratic nomination. Clinton supported the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was never ratified by the Arkansas legislature or the required number of states. He declared the matter a "dead issue" in Arkansas though ratification is still being pursued on the national level by the administration of President Jimmy Carter.
Lowe found few issues on which to challenge Clinton until the Democrat announced his opposition to a referendum to remove the state sales tax on groceries and prescription drugs. Clinton determined that the state could not afford to lose the $60 million then procured from the sales tax. Lowe noted a $40 million state surplus and urged repeal of the taxes. Not only did Clinton defeat Lowe, but the removal of the sales taxes failed, 55-45 percent. Arkansans were more in tune with higher taxes than Lowe had judged.
With his election a foregone conclusion, Clinton called the campaign against Lowe "uneventful except for the press conference on the steps of the Capitol in which his campaign accused me of being a draft dodger." Lowe's charge would be raised again nearly fourteen years later in the 1992 presidential primary campaign. The Arkadelphia Southern Standard newspaper in Arkadelphia claimed that Clinton could hardly lose "unless he stumbles badly or is caught molesting a nun in the process of robbing the church widows’ and orphans’ funds."
U.S. News and World Report said that no state in the U.S. South in 1978 was "tougher to crack for the Republicans than Arkansas, and it's going to stay that way." Clinton hence became at thirty-two the youngest person elected governor in the United States since Harold Stassen won in Minnesota in 1938 at the age of thirty-one. He was termed "a living monument to the god, 'Charisma'"
Lowe received 195,550 votes (36.6 percent) and won six counties: Sebastian (Fort Smith) with 62.5 percent, Crawford (adjoining Sebastian) with 55 percent, Boone (Harrison) with 54.9 percent, Polk with 54.4 percent, Van Buren with 54.1 percent, and his own Miller at 53.6 percent. He won 49.8 percent in Franklin County, also near Fort Smith and the home base of then U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers. Clinton prevailed with 338,684 votees (63.4 percent) and won the remaining sixty-nine counties. It was the best showing by a GOP nominee for governor since Winthrop Rockefeller's 1970 loss to Bumpers. While Lowe lost to Clinton, Lowe's former congressional rival, outgoing Governor David Pryor, won all seventy-five counties in the U.S. Senate race over the Little Rock Moderate Republican William Thomas "Tom" Kelly, Jr. (1942-2011).
U.S. Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt, the first Arkansas Republican congressman since Reconstruction, was instrumental in helping his friend Lowe to win in Boone County. Hammerschmidt had also been party chairman for a time before and again after his congressional service. He also preceded Lowe as the party's national committeeman. Lowe was a Hammerschmidt donor from 1982 to 1988. He also contributed $1,000 to the Arkansas party organization after he left as chairman.
Lowe was elected state party chairman in December 1974, when the Arkansas state Senator Jim Caldwell, stepped down from the unpaid position, to which he had been elected in March 1973. Lowe defeated three candidates, Dr. Robert Luther of Arkadelphia, who later served as the party executive director; Marshall Martin of Benton, the party chairman in Saline County and a former aide to Governor Rockefeller, and Bob Scott of Little Rock, a moderate and former Rockefeller associate. Though considered a conservative, Lowe was friendly with Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, Winthrop Rockefeller's older brother who had been nominated to fill the second slot by President Gerald Ford, upon Ford's accession to the presidency after the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon. Lowe said that Nelson Rockefeller was popular among Arkansas Republicans because of "the feelings for his brother." Yet, Lowe said that a more conservative running mate might be needed for Ford in 1976, having foreshadowed the replacement of Nelson Rockefeller on the GOP ticket with Bob Dole of Kansas.
Lowe described Winthrop Rockefeller as "a very unusual guy with the best interest of Arkansas and its people at heart. If he made a mistake, it was not because he wanted to do so." Lowe said that his early years as chairman came at a time when the Arkansas GOP was "about as flat on our back as a party could be. By 1980, we had come from one state legislator to a governor, Frank D. White, and two members of the U.S. House", John Paul Hammerschmidt and Edwin Ruthvin Bethune, Jr.
Lowe served three two-year terms as chairman, having been succeeded in June 1980 by the vice chairman who became the interim chairman, Jeraldine Day "Jeri" Pruden (1921-1992), of Hope in Hempstead County, the birthplace of Bill Clinton. In December 1980, Harlan "Bo" Holleman was elected and served as chairman until his death in March 1982. Like Lowe, Holleman was also a former candidate for the U.S. Congress.
On August 10, 1975, Lowe and then State Representative Carolyn Pollan of Fort Smith hosted President Ford, who attended a reception of some thirty Arkansas Republican leaders held at the Sheraton Inn in Fort Smith. Earlier in the day, Ford had toured Fort Chaffee, accompanied by Senator John McClellan and other Democratic members of the Arkansas congressional delegation. Ford's stops included the Vietnam Refugee Resettlement Center there.
Lowe was sergeant at arms at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan. The Arkansas delegation included Ada Mills of Clarksville, who had received national attention for having been the only delegate in the country initially committed to former Governor John B. Connally, Jr., of Texas for the presidential nomination that year. As state party chairman, Lowe had been technically neutral at the convention, but Lowe and the entire Arkansas delegation routinely voted to nominate Ronald W. Reagan, who would then tap George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas as his vice-presidential choice.
After his three terms as party chairman, Lowe served from 1980 to 1988 as the Arkansas Republican national committeeman. When Bill Clinton returned in 1982 for a second nonconsecutive two-year term as governor, his former rival Lowe told the GOP executive committee, meeting in Little Rock, that he had observed "the exchange of paper money" at a polling precinct in Texarkana eleven days earlier. Lowe said that he feared the "ugly monster" of corrupt election practices was returning to Arkansas and would "play havoc" with future Republican opportunities. He declined to answer reporters' questions about instances of specific fraud in state politics.
In 2000, Lowe was a donor to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, successful in a close electoral vote over Clinton's vice president, Al Gore, later the guru of the climate change lobby.
Lowe was the board chairman of the Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative Commission in Texarkana.
Lowe died at the age of seventy-four at his home in Garland, Arkansas. A memorial service was held on August 21, 2010, at the First Lutheran Church of Texarkana, Texas, with the Reverend Berry Kolb officiating. Lowe was interred on his farm.
Lowe's death came one month after the passing of Leon Griffith, the 1976 GOP gubernatorial nominee, who was overwhelmed in that heavily Democratic year by Governor David Pryor, who had defeated Lowe for Congress a decade earlier.
- Social Security Death Index. ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved on January 31, 2011.
- Our Campaigns: Lowe, Lynn. ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- In Memory of A. Lynn Lowe. obits.dignitymemorial.com. Retrieved on January 31, 2011.
- Billy Hathorn, Interview with A. Lynn Lowe, December 28, 2009.
- Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, July 22, 1966, p. 1492.
- State of Arkansas, Secretary of State, Election returns, November 8, 1966.
- Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, October 7, 1966, p. 2353.
- Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, May 20, 1978, p. 1233.
- Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, October 14, 1978, p. 2804.
- State of Arkansas, Secretary of State, Election returns, November 7, 1978.
- Bill Clinton. My Life. Google Books. ISBN 978-1-4000-3003-3. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- Quoted from Arkadelphia Southern Standard in Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, October 14, 1978, p. 2804.
- U.S. News and World Report, October 16, 1978, p. 32.
- Arkansas election returns, 1978.
- A. Lynn Lowe from Zip Code 75502. watchdog.net. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- Arkansas Outlook (Republican newsletter), May 1973
- Arkansas Outlook, December 1974; Arkansas Gazette (now Arkansas Democrat-Gazette), December 8, 1974.
- Arkansas Outlook, October 1975.
- Jeraldine D. Pruden. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on August 13, 2019.
- Arkansas Outlook, December 1976.
- The Daily Dairy of President Gerald R. Ford. fordlibrarymuseum.gov (August 10, 1975). Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, July 12, 1980, p. 1928.
- Arkansas Gazette, November 14, 1982.
- Texarkana, Arkansas Political Contributions by Individuals. city-data.com. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative Commission. arklatexhealthcenter.com. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.
- C-SPAN:Lowe, Lynn