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Peter Groff is now officially the first black state Senate president in Colorado history. But this passage in the Denver Post article on Groff is what intrigued me:
The move comes nearly 85 years after a well-documented period in Colorado history when members of the Ku Klux Klan held majorities in both houses of the legislature and controlled the governor's office.
Sure enough, here's an excerpt from the biography of Governor Clarence Morley on the state of Colorado's Web site:
Taking advantage of weak leadership in the Republican Party, the Klan promoted Judge Morley as the party's choice for governor. The primarily conservative voters of Colorado tended to vote for a straight Republican party ticket, and thus also chose the Klan. The Republicans, top-heavy with Klan members, won the 1924 election by a landslide. The Klan instituted Morley as Governor, obtained a majority in the House and Senate, elected the Secretary of State, and secured a Supreme Court Judgeship as well as seven benches on the Denver District Court.
That led me to look up the Wikipedia page (insert obligatory cautionary note here) on the Klan, which includes this section:
The KKK controlled the governments of Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon, in addition to some Southern legislatures. In Indiana, Klansman Edward Jackson was elected governor in 1924. In the same year, the Klan decided to make Anaheim, California into a model Klan city and secretly took over the city council. However, the Klan was voted out in a special recall election.
All of this is a helpful reminder: It's good to live in 2008.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.