- Carlos Spaht
Carlos G. Spaht (
August 2, 1906- April 29, 2001) was a Louisiana judgebest remembered for having lost the Democratic gubernatorial runoff electionin January1952 to fellow Judge Robert F. Kennonof Minden, the seat of Webster Parishin northwestern Louisiana. Spaht's unsuccessful ticket-mate for lieutenant governorwas future GovernorJohn J. McKeithen of Columbia, the seat of Caldwell Parishin north Louisiana. McKeithen lost to then State Senator C.E. "Cap" Barhamof Ruston, the seat of Lincoln Parish, also in north Louisiana. At the time, McKeithen was an outgoing member of the Louisiana House of Representatives.
Spaht was affiliated for years with the
Baton Rougelaw firm Kantrow, Spaht, Weaver & Blitzer.
Spaht was reared on a
dairy farm. The family moved from Missourito Louisiana in the middle 1920s. He attended Louisiana State Universityin Baton Rouge, where he joined the Reserve Officers Training Corpsand received his law degree in 1931.
He served in the
United States Armyduring World War II, having eventually earned the rank of colonel. He went on active duty in the summer of 1941 and was sent to Chinato work with the 8th Chinese Army. He became involved in the battle to free the Burma Road. Here he met General Claire Chennaultof the Flying Tigers, who grew up near Ferriday, Louisiana.
After his military service, Spaht was appointed a judge for the 19th Judicial District.
In 1952, Spaht was asked to run for governor to succeed the then term-limited
Earl Kemp Long. Anti-Long elements coalesced about Kennon. Earl Long, brother of the legendary Huey Pierce Long, Jr., was said to have hand-picked Spaht so that Long might still have some influence in government decisions. Dubbed "Earl's Boy" ["Legacy to Power: Senator Russell Long of Louisiana" by Robert T. Mann pg 132] , Spaht was the Long candidate largely by default in what became an anti-Long year. Opponents of the Long ticket opposed tax increases during Earl Long's tenure and feared such increased costs of government would continue under a Spaht administration.
In the first primary in December 1951, nine candidates ran. Spaht led with received 173,987 votes to Kennon's 163,434 votes. In the runoff, all seven other candidates, including
U.S. Representative Hale Boggsof New Orleans, endorsed Kennon, who defeated Spaht, 61-39 percent. In the April 22 general election, Kennon defeated the first Republican of the twentieth century even to seek the office, Harrison G. Bagwell of Baton Rouge by a 96-4 percent margin.
Spaht ran for governor again in 1956, when Earl Long won outright in the first primary.
Spaht was a proponent of the
desegregationof the LSU Law School and later worked to end segregationin other venues. He promoted the creation of predominantly African American Southern Universitycampuses in Shreveport and New Orleans.
When McKeithen became governor, he named Spaht to the prestigious LSU Board of Supervisors. Spaht worked with McKeithen in 1964 in drafting a
code of ethicsfor elected officials and state employees.
State Commission on Alcoholism
Baton Rouge Bi-Racial Committee
Committee on Emergency Allocations
State Ethics Board
Death and burial
Spaht died in Baton Rouge. He is interred at
Greenoaks Memorial Parkin East Baton Rouge Parish.
April 2, 2008, Spaht, along with former State Senator J.D. DeBlieuxand former Register of the State Lands Ellen Bryan Moore, was honored posthumouslyby the annual Louisiana Governor's PrayerBreakfast.
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