Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Torrance Press 1962 Election Endorsements (and a Shot Gun)

Here's a clip which may interest Torrance, CA historians.

In this Sunday, November 4th, 1962 edition of the Torrance Press, the picture in the top right corner focuses on a gentleman, a grin on his face, and a shot gun in his hands, ready to fire at anyone who takes away the Congressional poster promoting Republican candidate Ted Bruinsma for the 17th Congressional District.

If people think that Torrance politics has been rough and tough recently (with city council candidate signs getting stolen within weeks of Election 2014), they should look back over fifty years, and find that politicos went so far as to trash Congressional signs. Voters put their Second Amendment rights to use to stop this infringement of the First Amendment.

The sign next to the Congressional billboard is particularly telling:

"Knock this one down, Cecil, over my dead body"

Cecil King was the Democratic incumbent that year, 1962.

The previous year, the Congressional districts had been redrawn, thus permitting a chance of real competition once in a decade.

California Congressional politics was a relatively stable phenomenon, as backroom deals in the state legislature permitted incumbents and entrenched political parties to hold onto their respective legislative seats.

In 1962, Torrance was once again divided into two Congressional districts. South and west belonged to the 28th, and the northern and eastern sections belonged to the newly-drawn 17th District.

Congressman King had been in office since the 1940's. A Democratic in a well-entrenched safe distict, he had beaten off challenges many times, and a few times ran unopposed. Election 1962 would be one of the times when he faced a challenge. Bruinsma was a Torrance-based attorney who would run for other offices and succeed.

King retired from in 1966 office then pass away in an Inglewood nursing home in 1974

Alphonzo Bell (R-CA, 28th)

In the 28th Congressional District, Alphonzo Bell, a scion of the Bell family after which Bel Air and Bell, and Bell Gardens are named, would win reelection that year, too.

The Torrance Press endorsed mostly Republican candidates that year, including Richard Nixon for Governor, although for the three Assembly seats in the region, the paper would stand for the Democratic candidates and incumbents across the board.

Still, with Democratic and pro-Cecil King partisans taking down Bruinsma posters, it would appear that the Democratic machine feared a wipe-out or at least some upsets in the South Bay.

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