Senator Tower was the first Republican to be elected U.S. senator from Texas since Reconstruction. Tower won two more terms to the U.S. Senate, demonstrating that a Republican could win in Texas. By 1963 there were more than 100 local Republican clubs that were opposed to regulation of oil and gas and the integration of public schools. Their growth was limited by the popularity of Governor Connally, but more conservative Democrats began to donate money to Senator Tower’s campaigns in the late 1960s. In general, club members endorsed the Republican candidate, U.S. senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona for president in 1964.
In 1968 both President Johnson and Governor Connally announced their retirement from public life. Texans voted for Minnesota Democrat and U.S. vice president Hubert Humphrey for the presidency, but former vice president Richard Nixon won the election. When Nixon was reelected in 1972, he carried Texas and most of the rest of the nation.
The pall of the Watergate scandal caused the state to vote for Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976, but the election disguised a growing state Republican Party that won new adherents in the suburbs, and recruited well among more conservative Democrats. These new Republicans supported the conservative Republican Ronald Reagan, former governor of California.
The new Texas Republican Party showed its strength in 1978 when Republican Bill Clements, a Dallas oilman and friend of Ronald Reagan, was elected governor. Clements was not a particularly successful governor. He battled with the Democratic legislature, failed to pass much of his program, and his abrasive personality alienated many potential voters. He did, however, give the Republican Party credibility by demonstrating that Republicans could win statewide elections. He lost his first reelection attempt and then won again in 1986. By that time the nature of Texas politics and the Texas economy had begun to change drastically. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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