Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with George Cheaney, August 16, 1977

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Happy Chandler's 1955 gubernatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: This is Professor Charles P. Roland from the University of Kentucky History Department.

Segment Synopsis: Cheaney talks about his role as campaign manager for Henderson, Kentucky for Chandler's 1955 gubernatorial campaign. Cheaney discusses Chandler's campaign speeches. He talks more generally about Chandler's campaigning style, including his talking points and key policies.

Keywords: Audiences; Campaign managers; Campaigning; Campaigns; Crowds; David Brinkley; District meetings; Donations; Duties; Endorsements; Finances; Funding; Funds; Gubernatorial campaigns; Happy Days Are Here Again (Song); Henderson (Ky.); Henderson County (Ky.); Orators; Popularity; Sales taxes; Singers; Songs; Speeches; Theme songs; Toll Road Berty; Votes

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Combs, Bert T., 1911-1991; Elections; Governors--Election; Governors--Kentucky; Political campaigns--Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of History

00:05:41 - Opinions about Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Has he, uh, remained extremely popular with the home folks?

Segment Synopsis: Chandler discusses the differing opinions about Chandler held by Kentuckians. He talks about the accomplishments and controversies of Chandler's administration, especially regarding the classification of Corydon, Kentucky.

Keywords: Accomplishments; Achievements; Bitterness; Classifications; Corydon (Ky.); Corydon, Kentucky; Dr. James Martin; Efficacy; Finances; Fiscal policies; Infrastructure; James W. Martin; Roads; Supporters; Terminations; Town clerks

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Families; Governors--Kentucky; Occupations; Politicians--Kentucky; State governments; University of Kentucky. College of Medicine

00:11:00 - Chandler's political machine / Chandler's state employees

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Partial Transcript: Of course Chandler developed, uh, uh, uh, an almost unbeatable political machine in, in Kentucky at times.

Segment Synopsis: Cheaney discusses the power of the Chandler political machine in Henderson County and Woodford County. He also talks about how only those who supported Chandler kept their state jobs.

Keywords: Administrations; Agreements; Confidence; County chairmen; Firings; Henderson County (Ky.); Henderson County, Kentucky; Highway departments; Jobs; Joe Bates; Joe Leary; Joseph Leary; Loyalty; Meeting halls; Patronage systems; Political machines; Pressures; Qualifications; Reinstatements; Terminations; To the victor, belongs the spoils; Winner takes all; Woodford County (Ky.); Woodford County, Kentucky

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Democratic Party (Ky.); Governors--Election; Occupations; Political campaigns--Kentucky; State governments--Officials and employees; Waterfield, Harry Lee, 1911-1988

00:18:28 - Chandler's character

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Cheaney, one of the things that has come through to me very strong about Happy Chandler, and I think I've observed it personally and, then of course I've got it from lots of people is his tremendous emphasis on personal loyalty.

Segment Synopsis: Cheaney talks about Chandler's leadership and dedication to personal loyalty. He discusses Chandler's loyalty, especially to James W. Martin and Joe Bates.

Keywords: Advisors; Dr. James Martin; Educators; Friends; Friendships; Harry Davis; Infrastructure; James W. Martin; Joe Bates; Leaders; Leaderships; Loyalty; Payrolls; Relationships; Supporters

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Democratic Party (Ky.); Governors--Election; Governors--Kentucky; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Politicians--Kentucky; State governments--Officials and employees

00:24:19 - State patronage

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, I handled all the patronage here.

Segment Synopsis: Cheaney discusses how he and his committee hired candidates for jobs in state government and how their political views played into that process.

Keywords: Candidates; Civil service examinations; Committees; Henderson County (Ky.); Henderson County, Kentucky; Jobs; Leo King; Patronages; Qualifications; State patronage; Talents

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Democratic Party (Ky.); Occupations; State governments; State governments--Officials and employees

00:26:32 - Chandler's 1963 gubernatorial campaign

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Partial Transcript: I know you were not actively involved in the '63 campaign and maybe you won't feel qualified to comment on this, but other people, Chandler supporters, have told me that he simply seemed to lack the drive and the intensity and one might even--well, just the determination then that he had shown in earlier campaigns.

Segment Synopsis: Cheaney talks about how Chandler's age impacted the 1963 gubernatorial campaign. He discusses other factors that contributed to Chandler's loss, including the role of television and the issue of taxation.

Keywords: Ages; Aging; Audiences; Budgets; Debates; Elderly; Elders; Fiscal policies; Income taxes; Infrastructures; Issues; Sales taxes; Senior citizens; Speeches; Tax policies; Taxes; Televisions

Subjects: Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Governors--Election; Governors--Kentucky; Older people; Political campaigns--Kentucky; Press and politics.; Taxation--Law and legislation--Kentucky