Taking a political fight to the graveSeptember 11th, 2012 at 10:19 am by Josh Hinkle under Politics
By John Moritz
Monday’s death of longtime political foot soldier Bob Gammage reminded me again that in Texas, political grudges are often carried to the grave.
And in some cases, they can linger even longer.
In the early 1960s, Connally embodied the conservative, business-oriented wing of the Texas Democratic Party. Yarborough represented the passionate, but minority, liberal faction.
Their differences boiled over during President John F. Kennedy’s ill-fated trip to Texas in November 1963 when Connally attempted to muscle Yarborough out of some of the high-profile events with the president. At one point, Yarborough was so incensed, he threatened to refuse to ride in the same car as Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson – Connally’s political mentor – for the motorcade through Dallas.
Not long after Gammage — a former state lawmaker, member of Congress and Texas Supreme Court justice – lost his bid to win the 2006 Democratic primary for governor, he told me the following story:
When Connally died in June 1993, he was buried in the space reserved for him at the Texas State Cemetery in East Austin.
Specifically, Connally’s plot was on Republic Hill, Section 2, Row P, No. 9.
Around that time, Yarborough came to the realization that he also had space reserved at the state cemetery.
His plot was on Republic Hill, Section 2, Row G, No. 10.
Yarborough did not like that one bit.
Gammage had come to know and befriend Yarborough long after the old liberal had left the Senate. Hearing that his friend was dreading the prospect of resting for all eternity just a couple of grave plots away from his old nemesis, Gammage offered to trade spaces with Yarborough.
On Thursday, after a memorial service in the Texas Senate Chamber, Gammage will be buried on Republic Hill, Section 2, Row P, No. 11.
Since January 1996, Yarborough has been in Gammage’s former space in Section 2 of Republic Hill, but in Section G, No. 10.