Earl Kemp Long (August 26, 1895 – September 5, 1960) was an American politician and the 45th Governor of Louisiana, serving three nonconsecutive terms. Long, known as "Uncle Earl", connected with voters through his folksy demeanor and colorful oratory. He departed from other southern politicians of his time by promoting a progressive agenda, expanding school-lunch programs, teacher pay, public-works projects, and minority voting rights.
His sometimes erratic behavior – including a liaison with New Orleans stripper Blaze Starr – did not affect his electoral success. Long served as governor from 1939 to 1940, 1948 to 1952, and 1956 to 1960. He was nominated in the summer of 1960 to the United States House of Representatives for Louisiana's 8th congressional district, since disbanded because of demographic changes, but he died before he could take office. He was elected as lieutenant governor and served from 1936-1939. Trying to keep a close hand in state government, Long failed in three other bids to be elected lieutenant governor, in 1932, 1944, and 1959.
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- I don't have an enemy in this state I hope, except rascals like Bill Dodd, Ray Knight and deLesseps Morrison. I'm proud of them! I'll be back. Keep your eye on the indicators. I thought I owed it to you to come look you in the eye and let as many of you see me and see I'm living and I'm not nuts. If I'm nuts, I've been nuts all my life. Thank ya, and God bless ya.
- Quoted in "1959 Year In Review: Governor Earl Long Goes Crazy," UPI.com (1959).