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The Way We Were: Augusta candidate ran often, won little
Augusta Chronicle - 2/4/2019
Feb. 03--When Hugh Eugene Tudor appeared on the CBS quiz show "I've Got a Secret" in 1962, he might have mystified the New York audience.
He was, however, no secret back home in Augusta, where he was one of the most prolific political candidates in local or state history. Before his death in 1981, Tudor would run for public office 35 times, most often for city council or mayor, but also in efforts to win seats as sheriff and U.S. congressman. That's why the national media found him so interesting.
He was vocal. He was active. But he was almost always unsuccessful. Only once in nearly three dozen tries did he win election, a record of defeats most thought to be a national record.
Tudor, however, was not unlikeable.
A World War II Navy veteran, he lived on what was then Cooper Street in Augusta'sFrog Hollow neighborhood and ran his own food products company. In 1951, he decided to seek political office.
"My platform is simple, but nevertheless the sincerest of any candidate," he said, "the lowering of your city taxes ... by economy without loss of efficiency."
He also said he planned to purge the city workforce of "political parasites."
"I am not a politician and do not have any political inclinations or influence," he said. "My candidacy is based on a sincere desire to be of service to my home city, and I pledge my best efforts if elected."
Despite such a noble platform, he didn't win. In fact, he would not be successful for almost a decade, until he captured the 4th Ward city council race in 1962 -- his 25th attempt. Even before he took office, the newspaper reported he was leading his community in protests against plans to replace the residential homes and streets of Frog Hollow with an expansion of University Hospital. This was ultimately unsuccessful.
He hit the ground running as a new city councilman. Having finally won, he was ready to change things, proposing to trim the police roster, close three fire houses, change some judgeships from appointed to elected positions, and even reduce the city council from 16 members to five.
The reaction of his fellow councilmen must have been less ambitious because within months of taking office, Tudor was announcing plans to run (again) for mayor. They would not be successful. Neither would the next dozen campaigns.
Despite it all, Tudor was generally admired.
"Mr. Tudor was a kind man, and an honest one, who earned the respect of those around him. His lack of guile was apparent," The Augusta Chronicle said in an editorial after his death.
That same editorial revealed something about Tudor's motivation. It said that a questionnaire he'd filled out for the newspaper a quarter century before included this under "Organizations": "NONE -- I spend my time home with the family teaching the principles and fundamentals of being a good citizen."
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