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Richard Nixon in 1950
Richard Nixon in 1950

In the 1950 United States Senate election in California, Republican Richard Nixon (pictured) defeated Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas in a campaign characterized by accusations and name-calling. Democratic incumbent Sheridan Downey withdrew during the primary election campaign, after which publisher Manchester Boddy joined the race; both attacked Douglas as a leftist. Nixon and Douglas won the primaries, and at the time of the Red Scare, tried to paint each other as sympathetic to communism; Nixon had more success doing so. Democrats were slow to rally to Douglas, and some even endorsed Nixon, who defeated Douglas by almost 20 percentage points in the November 7 election. Though Nixon was later criticized for his tactics in the campaign, he defended his actions and stated that Douglas was too far to the left for California's voters. The campaign gave rise to two political nicknames, "the Pink Lady" for Douglas and "Tricky Dick" for Nixon. (Full article...)