The Question: Is an athletic background an asset for a political candidate? (Asked at the conference of governors in Atlantic City, N.J.)

October 29, 1956

GOVERNOR ROBERT B. MEYNER
New Jersey
It could be an asset if the candidate had been a great quarterback. But a quarterback calls the plays. He has brains. However, success in athletics doesn't guarantee success in politics, which is more akin to scholastic attainment and professional or business success.

GOVERNOR RAYMOND GARY
Oklahoma
In some sections an athletic reputation has voter appeal. In the East, where sports are well-organized and intensely publicized, a great athlete, running for public office, might have an advantage. Farther west, in the open spaces, it's not an asset, but it's certainly not a handicap.

GOVERNOR J. HUGO ARONSON
Montana
We have great forests, our streams and our mountains. Montana has more wild animals than people. A sportsman who learns the ways of animals and how they survive wins the respect and support of other sportsmen. He also acquires the ability to work hard and intelligently on problems.

GOVERNOR MARVIN GRIFFIN
Georgia
Yes. In both football and baseball, when you feel you can't go another second, you learn to give that additional something you need. I know. I played at The Citadel. Athletic training makes you a better fighter. It teaches you sportsmanship and enables you to appreciate your opponent.

GOVERNOR G. B. TIMMERMAN JR.
South Carolina
That depends on the kind of sports background the candidate has. If he has been a great athlete and his reputation has clung to him, I think it would be an asset of a sort with a segment of the population. It certainly would not be the determining factor.

GOVERNOR JOSEPH B. JOHNSON
Vermont
If a candidate has other necessary qualifications for office, his athletic background can be very helpful. A candidate must have the qualities of persistence, hard work and leadership. With these, and an athletic reputation, he is a hard man to beat for any office.

GOVERNOR CHRISTIAN A. HERTER
Massachusetts
Yes, but in addition, a lot depends on how well he is liked by the people. Take Rocky Marciano, the retired heavyweight champion, as an example. Rocky still lives at Brockton, and he is so well liked that he could be elected to almost any political office in the state of Massachusetts.

GOVERNOR ERNEST W. McFARLAND
Arizona
It has a distinct voter appeal for those interested in sports. Many feel that sports are fine for youth, and they like public officials who have the same viewpoint. In that sense it is an asset, but I don't think a man would be elected to office merely because he was a great football player.

GOVERNOR ALLAN SHIVERS
Texas
Yes. All Americans are interested in sports, even those who only watch. Everything else being equal, I believe that a candidate with an athletic background has the advantage, particularly if sports continue to be his hobby. People love Ike for his down-to-earth simplicity and his golf.

GOVERNOR WILLIAM G. STRATTON
Illinois
Yes. Participation in sports gives you a broader and healthier outlook. It helps you understand people and work with them in harmony. Furthermore, sports have a distinct voter appeal. The one who excels in sports may win the admiration of people and possibly their support.

GOVERNOR EDMUND S. MUSKIE
Maine
Yes. Athletics bring out the best in a man. He learns to take defeat with a smile and victory modestly. Governor A. B. (Happy) Chandler was Commissioner of Baseball, and being associated with our national pastime could do nothing but help and even advance his political career.

GOVERNOR ORVILLE L. FREEMAN
Minnesota
Yes, because most people are interested in sports. I was a quarterback at Minnesota. People often talk with me about those wonderful old games. Minnesota is a great sports state. I enjoy both hunting and fishing, and I have done a lot of work on our conservation program.

THIRTEEN PHOTOS

NEXT WEEK:

How much does superior equipment have to do with improved athletic performance?

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