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Harold Alexander (Florida politician)

G. Harold Alexander (1900–1987) was the state chairman of the Florida Republican Party from 1952 to 1964.[1] Alexander resided on the Gulf Coast in Fort Myers in Lee County, Florida.

G. Harold Alexander
Florida Republican Party State Chairman
In office
1952–1964
Preceded byCyril C. Spades
Succeeded byTom Fairfield Brown, Sr.
Personal details
Born1900
Died1987 (aged c. 87)
Resting placeCoral Ridge Cemetery in Cape Coral, Florida
Spouse(s)Olive L. Alexander
Children2
ResidenceFort Myers, Lee County, Florida

Political careerEdit

Alexander's long chairmanship corresponded with the continued but weakening one-party system in Florida. From 1953 to 1955, he handled federal patronage in Florida through the new Dwight D. Eisenhower administration. He was among those known as "Post Office Republicans" whose principal interest in the party was to locate jobs as postmasters or in other federal positions for deserving party members. However, a new breed of Republicans began to appear in Florida as early as the 1950s; these Republicans were interested in recruiting and registering voters, campaigning against Democrats, and winning elected offices. Such a figure was William C. Cramer, a native of Denver, Colorado, who moved to St. Petersburg as a youth with his parents. In 1950, the World War II veteran was elected to the Florida House of Representatives from St. Petersburg. After a loss for the United States House of Representatives in 1952 on the Eisenhower ticket, Cramer won the congressional position in 1954 by a narrow margin. He soon found that Alexander "did his best to put me in my place" though Cramer was the first Florida Republican to serve in Congress since 1883. According to Cramer, Alexander accented patronage under his control, rather than GOP voter registration drives or the recruitment of candidates.[2]

However, Alexander claimed an interest in campaigning. In 1955, he attended a "campaign school" for state chairmen held in Washington, D.C.. There he conferred with Vice President of the United States Richard M. Nixon.[3] Alexander was a delegate to the 1952, 1960 and 1964 Republican National Conventions.[4]

In 1964, after nine years in the House, Cramer was elected in the primary as the Florida Republican national committeeman, a position that he held for twenty consecutive years. Cramer also headed the presidential delegate slate pledged to U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona though his former law partner, Herman Goldner, later the mayor of St. Petersburg, was supporting U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Cramer said that Goldwater asked him to circumvent the party "regulars" led by Harold Alexander's successor, chosen in 1964,[2] Tom Fairfield Brown, Sr. (1926-2012) of Tampa, because the state leadership had been too passive for too long. Cramer said that the state committee had "never been really interested in electing Republicans" and had "ignored Republicans when they were elected."[2]

Edward J. Gurney, a transplanted New Englander who settled in Winter Park and was elected to the U.S. House in 1962, initially joined Cramer and the insurgents but then withdrew his backing. Goldwater tried to "marry" the two slates, but Cramer said that Brown made such demands that no merger was feasible. Republican strategist Richard Kleindienst of Arizona halted a scheduled appearance on behalf of the Cramer slate by Goldwater's two sons. The Brown forces narrowly won the primary, but Cramer said that the insurgents may well have prevailed had Goldwater not wavered in his position. Cramer said that he believed the Brown forces would have "sold out" Goldwater had the "Stop Goldwater movement" been strong enough to coalesce behind Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania, a late-announcing candidate prior to the 1964 convention in San Francisco.[2]

Alexander and his wife, Olive L. Alexander, had two daughters.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "List of Officers: Republican State Central Committees, October 3, 1961; terms extend to 1964 in Florida" (PDF). nixonlibrary.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Billy Hathorn, "Cramer v. Kirk: The Florida Republican Schism of 1970," The Florida Historical Quarterly, LXVII, No. 4 (April 1990), pp. 406-407, 410
  3. ^ "Photo for sale of Vice President Richard Nixon and G. Harold Alexander, the Florida state Republican chairman". ebay.com. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "Alexander, G. Harold". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
Preceded by
Cyril C. Spades
State Chairman, Florida Republican Party

G. Harold Alexander
1952–1964

Succeeded by
Tom Fairfield Brown, Sr.