Thurston Is Conservative

In the era before direct election of senators, candidates often stood unofficially for a period of time, and in 1894 John Thurston was not officially nominated by the Republican Party with a platform. His standing was as a citizen and a party member. Bryan hopes to force Thurston's views into the open and directly challenge him, but the editor of the Bee and other Republicans consider these offers little more than political posturing.


Not Willing to Be Forced Into a False Position by Mr. Bryan

A few days ago, as has appeared in The Bee, Congressman Bryan, an avowed and endorsed candidate of the democratic party for the United States senate, challenged Hon. John M. Thurston to a series of six joint debates. The conditions were that Mr. Thurston should announce himself as a republican candidate for the United States senate and promulgate the platform by which he would be guided if elected. The correspondence was through Mr. C. J. Smyth, chairman of the democratic state central committee.

Mr. Thurston replied in substance that while he would accept an election to the senate at the hands of his party, he would not seek to influence the action of the party caucus in the legislature by personally declaring that he was a candidate, and that he stood only on the national republican platform. As standing ready to defend the principles therein expressed and simply as a republican he declared his willingness to meet in joint debate Mr. Bryan or any other democrat.

To this Mr. Bryan's reply was that the question of a platform would be waived and Mr. Thurston would not be required to positively announce his candidacy, and it was suggested that he might accept the challenge and then it would simply be taken for granted that he was a candidate. To this Mr. Thurston has answered:

OMAHA, Oct. 4—Hon. C. J. Smyth, Chairman Democratic State Central Committee of Nebraska: My Dear Sir—You will please pardon me if I cannot recognize the right of the democratic state central committee to dictate the terms and conditions upon which I shall receive and accept invitations to joint debate.

Should I ever be so fortunate as to receive a straightforward; unconditional challenge from Mr. Bryan to join him a discussion of the questions at issue between the republican and democratic parties, it will be given prompt and favorable attention. Very truly yours,


About this Document

  • Source: Omaha Daily Bee
  • Citation: 1
  • Date: October 5, 1894