Col. Day for Congress '76
Updated: Dec 30, 2019
In my youth, I was part of a small group of conservative Republicans in northwest Iowa who tried to elect Col. George "Bud" Day to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976. The GOP nominee that year was liberal Joanne Soper. She was a Rockefeller Republican who was pro-abortion, pro-ERA, and anti-Reagan. She had no major policy differences with incumbent Berkley Bedell (Dem).
With the June primary just one week away, we organized a last-minute write-in campaign on behalf of Col. Day--native of Sioux City, Air Force officer, POW in Vietnam, Medal of Honor recipient, and most decorated U.S. military officer since Douglas MacArthur. It was a grassroots campaign. We didn't have a lot of money. We ran a few ads in local newspapers and on local radio, and relied on word of mouth. I created a homemade flier for Col. Day. He received 10% of the primary vote as a write-in candidate, including an impressive 33% in Woodbury County (Sioux City).
Like myself and my friends, Bud Day was a supporter of Gov. Ronald Reagan for the Republican presidential nomination in 1976. Reagan's opponent, Pres. Gerald Ford, played politics in relation to Col. Day. Since the war hero had declined to endorse Ford and backed Reagan instead, the president reversed a plan to elevate him to USAF brigadier general. Ford also delayed Day's Medal of Honor by a year, belatedly giving it to him on the eve of the Florida presidential primary as a means of self-promotion.