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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Orval Faubus, June 14, 1974. Interview A-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Dale Bumpers as a political phenomenon

Faubus describes Dale Bumpers, who won the Arkansas governorship in 1970, as a "political phenomenon." However, he believes that Bumpers has also benefited from a relatively placid political environment and the hard work of his predecessors, who built roads and hospitals.

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Oral History Interview with Orval Faubus, June 14, 1974. Interview A-0031. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Would you have run against Sen Fulbright if Gov Bumpers had not?
Yes, I might. Fulbright was due to be beaten. Just as I was in '70 after I got in the run off with Bumpers. If I'd of gotten someone else in the run off, think I might have won. Just as Rockefeller was in '70. If I'd of gotten the nomination I'd of beaten Rockefeller in 1970. But in a run off with Bumpers, didn't have a chance.
Why do you think he beat you?
He's a political phenomenon. He's cool. He's articulate. He doesn't panic. And he's got . . . well, he's just got it. He handled himself amazingly well. I don't think anyone in this state could have beaten Bumpers for any office this time. Maybe not in the foreseeable future. He looked a lot now like McMath did when he first came in. But the times are different. My god, there were so many roads needed to be built when McMath was governor. And you couldn't, maybe build 2% of them. Who was pressing Bumpers for a road? We got so many roads now, you know, that they think unknown a little bit of interest here and there. Who was pressing him for a hospital or a vo-tec school? They were coming along pretty well. Building them almost as fast as they needed them and many already completed. There weren't many problems to face him. I mean severe problems. Really difficult. Such as Fulbright's faced over the years. Such as I faced, especially in the early part of my administration. And like McMath faced when he was governor. You'd have more delegations down there, pleading for roads in one meeting of the highway commission while McMath was governor. . . . I mean intently, zealously, determined. Than Bumpers has had in his entire administration. See, this is a time of affluence. People are making money and spending it. In fact they're making so much money if they live on a road that isn't improved they can sell and move on to another one, if they want to. You couldn't do that then. You couldn't do early in my administration. It's the difference in the times which influences the attitude of the voter.