Striding Through History: When two Tydings campaigned in Dundalk
Sadly, former Democratic United States Senator from Maryland Joseph Davies Tydings, 90 (1928-2018) died of cancer — according to daughter Mary Tydings Smith — on Oct, 8, 2018.
Earlier this year in this space, I generally favorably reviewed the late Senator’s autobiography, entitled, “My Life in Progressive Politics: Against the Grain.”
My connection to the late JDT began on the night before the General Election of 1964, when — as a busboy at the then-renowned Thompson’s Seagirt House seafood restaurant on York Road in Govans, Md. — I cleaned away the dinner dishes of the then-GOP U.S. Senator from Maryland, James Glenn Beall Sr., who was then 71, the age I am now.
In doing so, I noticed that one of his hands was crippled. The next day, he was defeated for re-election by JDT.
In June 1969, Joyce Lynn Gaston Taylor and I dropped in at Sen. Tydings’ Washington, D.C., office on Capitol Hill, requesting a personal photograph with him that he graciously acceded to.
In 1970, we went door-to-door together for him on Midwood Avenue, the street where we then lived, also in Govans. One lady on whose door we knocked liked us, but insisted at the end of our talk as she had at the beginning, “He’s too close to those Kennedys!”
She turned out to be right, too, as even he later admitted was part of the reason he wasn’t re-elected that year. By then, Camelot — as the late Jackie Kennedy so famously termed the JFK Presidential years of 1961-63 to LIFE magazine in ‘64 — was over.
Both Jack and Bobby Kennedy had been murdered by assassins’ bullets, and their younger brother Ted had forever compromised his own possible Presidential election chances with the accidental death of a young woman not his wife in July 1969.
In addition to campaigning for JDT in 1970, I covered his appearance at then Towson State College’s student center White Room for the school newspaper, Towerlight, that still exists today.
I did the same, too, of his GOP challenger same year, Congressman John Glenn Beall, Jr., who defeated Tydings in the 1970 General Election.
He was the son of the very same man whom JDT had beaten six years earlier in an ironic reversal of fate.
In 1978, I interviewed the second JGB for the then Maryland State Medical Journal when he was the Republican nominee for Governor of Maryland. He lost the November General Election to Democratic nominee Harry R. Hughes.
In 1976, then US Sen. Beall Jr. was — like JDT before him — running for re-election, but lost that year’s General to the Democratic nominee, then-Congressman Paul S. Sarbanes, for whom I’d also campaigned door-todoor in ‘70, simultaneously as I did for JDT.
The Congressman had campaigned for JDT in 1964, and 11 years later — in 1975 — was told by the former Sen. Tydings that he would not run back again for his former seat. Sarbanes took him at his word and announced his candidacy, but then Tydings changed his mind and announced anyway, on Jan. 10, 1976.
I was then dreading that both of them would ask me simultaneously to campaign for them again.
What would I do? Fortunately, neither one did, so I was spared having to make that choice.:)
In the event, Rep. Sarbanes defeated JDT badly — by over 100,000 votes — 61 to 39 percent. He also beat Beall Jr. in the General, serving in the USS until he retired undefeated in 2007, and is still living.
So, the question arises: how and why did Tydings change his mind about running against his former campaigner that year of 1976?
If you think that the above has been twisted and complicated, we now turn to the answer, partly via the second of the late Senator’s four wives.
According to JDT’s obituary of Oct. 9, 2018 by reporter Bart Barnes in The Washington Post, “His marriages to Virginia Reynolds Campbell, Terry Lynn Huntington, Rosemary Kayser, and Kate Clark ended in divorce.”
Next, there is this segment from JDT’s autobiography previously mentioned, concerning a then expected, forthcoming 1970 expose in LIFE magazine — topic unknown — that the then incumbent Senator was dreading:
“By this time, my marriage to Ginny was failing, and I had fallen in love with a beautiful California woman, whom I would later marry...OK, OK, what the public would’ve seen is that a married US Senator with four young children was having an affair. Obviously, such a story would be politically damaging...”
As it developed, however, the LIFE expose was about something both entirely different and unrelated; he lost anyway.
Next came practicing lawyer JDT’s disclaimer to Congressman Sarbanes that he wouldn’t run against him,
Back to the autobiography: “But my new wife” — Terry Lynn Huntington Tydings — ”really wanted me to run for the Senate. Although I was reluctant at first, she finally persuaded me to join the race .... A part of me wanted another crack at it.”
And so it came to pass that they both came to Dundalk in that 1976 Primary season to a Del. Pat Welsh fundraiser, where I duly got to meet the second Mrs. Tydings. We said hello, shook hands, I thought that she was attractive, and a nice person.
I never gave her another thought, though, until earlier this year, 2018 — 42 years later! — when I noticed what I took to be a rather uneven treatment of her in the Senator’s book. I was intrigued. Who was she, anyway, or---rather---who had she once been? Who was she now?
I decided to find out, first reading on the internet about what had been a nasty divorce battle between them — enough said about that aspect. I was interested in the person. Here’s what I discovered.
Terry Lynn Huntington Tydings, 72, was born on May 8, 1940 at Mt. Shasta, CA, where she graduated from high school as a majorette in the band, then majored in dance after that at the University of California at Los Angeles, aka UCLA.
During 1954-55, she’d won her first beauty pageant titles as Miss Mt. Shastra. In 1959, then Miss Huntington won the crown of Miss California USA, going on that same year “To become California’s first representative to achieve the title of Miss USA...She is also the first Miss USA in her home state,” according to Wikipedia.
“She was then second runner up in the Miss Universe 1959 pageant.” That same year, Miss Huntington began appearing on national television shows as an actress or guest, among them being Perry Mason, The Untouchables, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, and Groucho Marx’s game show, You Bet Your Life.
She starred as well in the Hollywood movie as Hecuba in The Three Stooges Meet Hercules.
Following her acting career, Miss Huntington was a women’s clothing business production manager, a model, an office worker for US Sen. Alan Cranston, and — one report has it — was in the 1984 aborted Presidential campaign of then Colorado Democratic US Sen. Gary Hart.
She married JDT on Apr. 19, 1975, “with whom she had a daughter, actress Alexandra Tydings,” and in 1980 was named to the Board of Women’s National Bank.
Since then, the former second Mrs. Tydings has published her own autobiography, entitled, California Girl: Miss USA 1959. And there you have it!
I have a saying: “If I haven’t done it, I know someone who has!”
Blaine Taylor is the author of the forthcoming political biography, Bobby! From Robert F. Kennedy to RFK/A Life on the Way to Death,
1925-68. In 2013, he published his first of several projected Kennedy works, Dallas Fifty
Years On: The Murder of John F. Kennedy.
When all of them were much younger, during the run-up to the 1976 Maryland Democratic Primary Election for the United States Senate, as seen here at a local fundraiser in Dundalk that I attended. From left to right are seen former MD U.S. Sen. Joseph D. Tydings (1928-2018), then-MD State Democratic Del. Patrick T. Welsh of Dundalk (1950-2007) and Mrs. Terry Lynn Huntington Tydings (born 1940). When JDT lost to Sarbanes, she is seen crying in between the two at rear in the Tydings autobiography, her presence unmentioned in the caption. I recognized her there, and now, here.