Sunday, February 15, 2004

This might have some of the seeds for a useful Wikipedia article. (It wouldn't be the first one I've written.)

Who is Winton Malcolm "Red" Blount, Jr.?

Winton Malcolm Blount II (1921-2002) was a businessman who served the United States government during several administrations.

During World War II, Blount served as a B-29 pilot, but the war ended before he saw any action. Post-bellum, Blout founded the construction company Blount International with his brother, Houston, that eventually built Launch Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral and the Louisiana Superdome. Blout's government posts include President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce under LBJ and under Richard Nixon was postmaster general, serving through the demotion of the post from Cabinet level and the creation of the U.S. Postal service as a government corporation.

In 1972 Blount ran for Senator, losing by a margin of 62.3% to 33.1% in Alabama against the incumbent, John Sparkman. In the era of George Wallace, Sparkman was a New Deal Democrat and Blount's big money campaign failed to tar him with attempted links to George McGovern. Sparkman had previously been a sop to Southern Democrats when he was named number two to Adlai Stevenson's failed 1952 presidential bid. His previous election, in 1966, had seen him win with 60.1% of the vote. Upon his retirement in 1978, the seat went to former State Supreme Court chief justice Howell Heflin.

It is that Senate race which has become news in recent months, and from where the name Winton "Red" Blount may sound familiar, as it is that campaign which a young George W. Bush worked on during his alleged shirking of National Guard duties.

Blount's son, the third of that name, also made a foray into politics, when he forced a bitter Alabama Republican gubernatorial primary run-off filled with race-baiting but lost 48%-41% to religiousconservative and incumbent "Fob" James (who ended up losing to Lieutenant Governor Don Siegelman), while Blount IV has started up a construction firm in post-Saddam Iraq.

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