During Bobby Jindal's ill fated run for the Oval Office in 2016, one national reporter referred to the former Governor as 'the first Louisianan to seek the White House." That, as a matter of fact, is not quite true. More than eighty years ago one of the most powerful Chief Executives in the history of of our state almost made a run...against the man considered to be one of the giants of American history.

That man was Louisiana Governor Huey Long. It was 1935 and the USA was still in the depths of the Great Depression, an economic disaster that brought particular hardship to the South. And the now-Senator Long was gaining national attention with his "Share the Wealth Society." From the site hueylong.com:

"By 1935, Huey’s Share Our Wealth Society had over 7.5 million members in 27,000 clubs across the country. Long's Senate office was flooded with thousands of letters daily, prompting him to hire 32 typists, who worked around the clock to respond to the fan mail. As the nation’s third most photographed man (after FDR and celebrity aviator Charles Lindberg)..."

Long's ambitions to make a run for the White House were well know, especially to its then-current resident - and fellow Democrat Franklin Roosevelt. Again, from hueylong.com:

"To Roosevelt, however, Huey was 'one of the two most dangerous men in America.' Roosevelt sought to undercut Huey’s clout by putting Huey’s enemies in charge of federal spending and patronage in Louisiana. He ordered unproductive investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI into Huey’s finances and other dealings."

The President's efforts to undermine Long proved fruitless, and national polls - the first of their kind - showed that Huey was, in fact, a real threat to another FDR term. In August of 1935, Huey tosses his hat into the ring.

But those dreams came to an end about a month later, when Long was shot at the state capitol in Baton Rouge by assassin Carl Weiss (or accidentally by his own bodyguards, depending on whose account you believe).

So, could Long have mounted a serious threat to the sitting President? Or would the Louisianian have been crushed by FDR and the party machine? Well, here's a little food for thought: In 1934 the ex-governor gave a speech in Philadelphia to a crowd of more than 15,000. One local political boss was quoted as saying that Long "could get more than 250,000 votes" in his district alone.


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