Sep 27

Gore Vidal for Senate 1982


Gore Vidal looks pensive as he surveys San Luis Obispo County Airport after overcast delayed his landing.

May 25, 1982
gore-vidal-hertz-5-25-82.jpgGore Vidal is a journalist’s dream candidate because unreserved subjects make writing a story easy. Every time you look up from the notebook they say something more provoking than the last time. Professional politicians love running against them because they can look like the steady alternative, without trying.

The prolific author had his first book on the shelf at the tender age of 21. Yet the siren call of politics drew him to run for a New York Congressional seat in 1960 and for a California Senate seat in 1982.

He worked hard while he was in town, book signing and lecture at Cal Poly, visit to the residents of the Anderson Hotel and a television interview. The steady royalty checks from popular novels and screenplays somewhat insulated him from the usual grind of working a room for donations. It was a good thing because there were very few special interests who would give money to an acid witted author.

Staff writer Larry Bauman wrote:

05-26-82-gore-vidal.jpgWhy at the age of 65, is Vidal taking a leave from the literary life to become a politician?
As he told a Cal Poly audience Tuesday morning: They asked me why I decided to run this year and I said ‘frustration.’ And I don’t want it written on my tombstone that he always complained but he never did anything about it.”

There were so many leftovers they ran a quote box next to the main story under the headline:

A few gems from Gore Vidal
On Gov. Brown:
“Heaven knows what he’s talking about – resonated air.”
On Congress:
“You must remember that most of the people in Congress are sent there by the defense industry and other corporations.”
On the CIA
“It’s dangerous, it’s unconstitutional, it’s the president’s hit squad.”
On liberals:
“The liberals seem to feel that most of the country is composed of Archie Bunkers. They’re wrong.”
On Television:
“What do you get out of it? You get docile workers and eager consumers.”
On Vidal:
“You Know I’m just the master of the obvious. If I see a pothole, I say it should be fixed.”

Vidal finished second in the Democratic primary to Edmund G. Brown Jr. who lost in turn to San Diego mayor Pete Wilson.

Photos by Tony Hertz

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