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Hayes C. McClerkin (December 16, 1931 – January 6, 2016) was an American politician who served as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1961 to 1970 and as Speaker from 1969 to 1970. He succeeded Speaker Sterling R. Cockrill of Little Rock,[1] who in 1970 switched parties and ran as the unsuccessful Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. McClerkin worked as a commercial and environmental law attorney in Texarkana, Arkansas.[2]

Hayes McClerkin
Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives
In office
January 1, 1969 – December 31, 1970
Preceded bySterling R. Cockrill
Succeeded byRay S. Smith, Jr.
State Representative for Miller County (Texarkana)
In office
January 1, 1961 – December 31, 1970
Succeeded byDavid G. Orr
Personal details
Born(1931-12-16)December 16, 1931
Texarkana, Arkansas
DiedJanuary 6, 2016(2016-01-06) (aged 84)
Texarkana, Arkansas
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Lillian Riggs McClerkin
ChildrenMartha, Katherine, Lauren McClerkin
ParentsHayes Candour and Orlean Malony McClerkin
Alma materWashington and Lee University
University of Arkansas Law School
ProfessionAttorney, businessman

Life and careerEdit

A native of Texarkana, the seat of government of Miller County, McClerkin was the only child of Hayes Candour McClerkin (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.[3]

McClerkin was a boyhood friend of H. Ross Perot, the Texarkana native and Texas billionaire who ran for the American presidency in 1992 and 1996.[4] He was later in his career an aide to Governor Jim Guy Tucker.[1]

McClerkin received his Bachelor of Science degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He is the 1953 class agent for his alma mater.[5] In 1959, he received his L.L.B. degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law at Fayetteville. He is a member of Delta Theta Phi and the American and Arkansas bar associations.[2]

McClerkin did not seek a sixth term in the House in 1970. Instead he ran in the Democratic gubernatorial primary election with the goal of challenging the GOP incumbent Winthrop Rockefeller. He finished fourth in the primary with 45,011 votes (10.5 percent). Attorney General Joe Purcell 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 (36.4 percent) and 86,156 (20.0 percent), respectively. In the runoff election, Bumpers, using the "Let's Get Our State Together" theme, soundly defeated Faubus, 58.7 to 41.3 percent,[6] 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 challenged 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."[7] The American Association of University Professors also condemned the list, and Rockefeller soon regretted that he had ever revealed its existence.[8] The list drew support from some conservatives who viewed it as a feasible way to halt troublemakers and traveling campus militants.[9] In the 1970 election, Sterling Cockrill switched parties and ran for lieutenant governor on Rockefeller's losing ticket.

McClerkin was a member of the board of directors of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance.[10] He is also the president of the Miller County Abstract Company.[11] He remained somewhat politically active and was a donor to former U.S. Representative and Gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross, a Democrat from Prescott who is also a native of Texarkana.[12]

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."[13] McClerkin died on January 6, 2016 at the age of 84.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "'69 House speaker, McClerkin, 84, dies". Arkansas Online.
  2. ^ a b "Hayes C. McClerkin". Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  3. ^ "Hayes C. McClerkin genealogy". Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  4. ^ Furlong, Tom (June 10, 1992). "Perot as Hometown Hero: Just Don't Get in His Way". Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  5. ^ "Washington and Lee University: Undergraduate Class Agents". Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  6. ^ Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (Washington, D.C., 2010), p. 1668
  7. ^ Arkansas Democrat, January 3, 1970
  8. ^ Arkansas Democrat, January 8, 1970
  9. ^ John L. Ward, The Arkansas Rockefeller (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1978), p. 167-168, 175
  10. ^ "Board of Directors of Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield". Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "Miller County Abstract Company". Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Texarkana Political Contributions by Individuals". Retrieved June 26, 2010.
  13. ^ 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
Political offices
Preceded by
Sterling R. Cockrill
Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Ray S. Smith, Jr.