George Smathers lives in infamy as the winner of the nasty 1950 Florida Democratic Primary for US Senate. In that primary Smathers defeated liberal icon incumbent Senator Claude Pepper with a red-baiting campaign that ushered in the McCarthy era. But Smathers Senate career saw him as close as anyone to the center of power. Close personal friends with John F. Kennedy, Smathers was the only non-family member that was part of the wedding party for his wedding to Jackie. Smathers was also close with Lyndon Johnson and was at the center of Richard Nixon’s Miami-based political operation, introducing Nixon to Bebe Rebozo and selling Nixon his property on Key Biscayne.
A unique historical figure, we discuss Smathers on this week’s Florida History Podcast.
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