The Dole Institute of Politics commemorates the 40 years since the hard-fought U.S. Senate race between former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Roy. Dole Institute senior archivist Audrey Coleman interviewed Dave Owen, Dole’s 1974 campaign coordinator, and Bill Roy Jr., son of Rep. Roy.
Coinciding with American Archives Month, “Your Story, His Story, the Legacy: the 1974 Dole-Roy Senate Race” integrates images of archival documents as well as vintage footage from campaign advertisements, to connect the live recollections to the archival record with new perspectives.
“The 40-year mark puts this race at an interesting place in documenting history,” said Dole Institute senior archivist Audrey Coleman. “The timing of the campaign pre-dates many adults’ memories, but so many crucial players are still with us and, for them, it’s their life — not history in an abstract or distant sense. Capturing that personal perspective is crucial to understanding the full effects of the career of someone like Bob Dole for decades, if not centuries, to come.”
A first-term senator in 1974, Dole faced a tough re-election in the wake of the Watergate scandal. A poll leading up to the election had Dole running six points behind the Democratic challenger, Roy, an obstetrician and lawyer. Dole went on to achieve a narrow victory in November. The result changed the course of American congressional politics for more than 20 years.
“The 1974 election served as a critical turning point in Bob Dole’s career. Had he lost, he would never had served as Senate Majority Leader or been the GOP nominee for both president and vice president,” said Dole Institute director Bill Lacy. “Hearing Dave and Bill’s comments on items from our collection will be like hearing an oral history live and in person.”
Before serving as an adviser and campaign coordinator to Dole, Dave Owen served as a Kansas state senator (1967-1973) and lieutenant governor of Kansas (1973-1975). Owen is a graduate of Ottawa University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics.
Bill Roy Jr. served as legal counsel for Gov. John Carlin’s second term and served as a state representative for Topeka for eight years starting in 1985. From 2005-2010, he was chairman of the Johnson County Democratic Central Committee. Since 2012, he has served as Democratic National Committeeman for Kansas.
Recorded October 9, 2014
Permission on the CBS footage courtesy of:
Associate Producer, Face the Nation
CBS News – Washington, D.C.
For more information visit the Dole Archives website:http://dolearchives.ku.edu/