Nation: Seeking the Mantle

For the first time in 49 years, the name of Sam Rayburn was missing from the ballot in Texas' Fourth Congressional District. The cotton-and-cattle-country Fourth was Mister Sam's undisputed personal fief; the Texas legislature kept it the sixth smallest in the U.S. (its population is 213,374; by comparison, a neighboring district contains 951,527 Texans) to make fence-tending easy for the aging Speaker, who died last November at 79. Six candidates, including a lone Republican, campaigned to succeed him in a special election. Nobody polled a majority, so the two who led the...

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