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Robert R. Reynolds
|Robert Rice Reynolds|
December 5, 1932 – January 3, 1945
|Preceded by||Cameron A. Morrison|
|Succeeded by||Clyde R. Hoey|
|Born|| June 18, 1884|
Asheville, North Carolina
|Died|| February 13, 1963 (aged 78)|
Asheville, North Carolina
Originally from the town of Asheville, Reynolds practiced law there and was elected to serve as solicitor (prosecuting attorney) for the area (1910-1914). He ran for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina in 1924, losing to J. Elmer Long in the Democratic primary. Reynolds first ran for the United States Senate in 1926, but was not successful. He ran again in 1932 and defeated interim Senator Cameron Morrison in the Democratic primary runoff by nearly two to one after running a particularly nasty, populist campaign, which accused Morrison of being a Communist sympathizer.
Reynolds had marked Fascist sympathies during his public career. He was in close contact with William Dudley Pelley's Silver Legion of America. As Senator, Reynolds admired the government of National Socialist Germany and supported the America First Committee. On the floor of the Senate, he said:
"The dictators are doing what is best for their people. I say it is high time we found out how they are doing it, and why they are progressing so rapidly. Hitler has solved the unemployment problem. There is no unemployment in Italy. Hitler and Mussolini have a date with destiny. It is foolish to oppose them, so why not play ball with them?"reference required
On January 31, 1939 Senator Reynolds formed an organization called The Vindicators and published an eight-page tabloid-size paper called the The American Vindicator. The group was anti-communist, anti-New Deal and opposed to admitting Jewish political refugees into the country.
In 1944 the Democratic Party chose former governor Clyde R. Hoey to seek Reynolds's seat in the primary. As a result, Reynolds did not seek reelection. Hoey won the primary and went on to win the general election in a landslide victory over a Republican opponent. Reynolds did seek to return to the Senate in 1950, but won only 10% of the vote the Democratic primary, finishing behind Frank Porter Graham and Willis Smith.
In January of 1945 Reynolds announced the formation of a third party: the American Nationalist Party.
Reynolds had five failed marriages which he considered an impediment for any future presidential run.