John Rhodes grew up a Republican; his father was a delegate from Kansas to the Republican National Convention in 1916 and was later the State Treasurer of Kansas. His mother recalled that one day when he was three or four, he picked up a newspaper, acted as if he were reading it, and declared: "Those darn Democrats!"
Thus it was inevitable that he would go on to be active in Republican politics. Starting in the late 1940s, he founded Young Republican clubs in Arizona. In addition to his service to Arizona in the House of Representatives, he was a delegate to the 1952, 1964, and 1968 Republican National Conventions, and was permanent chair of the 1976 and 1980 Republican Conventions.
The conventions that Rhodes chaired were particularly rancorous. In 1976, a strong Reagan coalition sought to oust the incumbent, Gerald Ford, from the ticket; in 1980, another group tried to draft Gerald Ford as Ronald Reagan’s running mate. In the following essays, Rhodes recounts his experiences at these two critical and fractious national conventions.
Please choose from the following Essays:
|1976 Republican Convention||1980 Republican Convention|