From State to Nation

Russell Heads to Washington

"Thousands in Georgia whose hands I have never shaken, thousands whom I have never seen, and thousands who have never seen me went into this battle and carried the democratic path. I shall strive to deserve what has been given."

Editor’s Note: Russell would leave his post as Governor not long after obtaining it, as Georgia Senator William Harris would die of a heart attack in 1932. After a heated senate run in 1933 making him the youngest member of the senate, Russell began his term by becoming a strong supporter of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, as he believed it would be best for Georgians. He would be elected for five more terms in office.

In a bid for his second term in 1936 Russell found himself pitted against then Georgia Governor Eugene Tallmadge. During the debates the issue of race was brought up and it was used against Russell, who was seen as a more progressive politician. Accused of supporting the rights of blacks and an unreliable segregationist, Russell would argue against integration, saying he was a defender of segregation and white supremacy due to his upbringing in the “Deep South.” However, he went on to add that he did not want the issue of race to become a political one. These issues would come up again later in Russell’s time as senator.