Maxfield’s Political Woes

After seven years absence from Dallas, the name Morgan Maxfield is popping up again. Once a well-known local business and real estate figure, Maxfield isn’t too happy about his wide-spread fame, which stems from his Missouri race for Congress. The race turned into such a mudslinging dogfight that even people in Dallas began asking what Maxfield had gotten himself into. Last spring Maxfield, who has lived in Kansas City for the past seven years, stunned political observers by winning a sev-en-man primary for the Missouri Sixth District Democratic nomination. Until a few weeks before the November general election, Maxfield was considered a shoo-in, which would have added another success to the Maxfield story that began 12 years ago in Dallas.

Maxfield’s candidacy was shot down by an odd issue – whether he was “a swinging bachelor.” Maxfield’s “swinging bachelor” image apparently grew out of a Kansas City Star Magazine article published several years ago, entitled “Kansas City’s Wealthy, Swinging Bachelors.” The article included a photograph of Maxfield at his suburban home. Maxfield was actually married then, as he still is, although he and his wife Marietta had been living apart since 1969 under a separation agreement.

Maxfield’s opponents claimed he had fostered the swinging bachelor image, while Maxfield maintains that he didn’t do so. In early October, Maxfield’s campaign manager resigned in a huff, claiming that Maxfield had been dishonest about his marital status. That resignation cost Maxfield dearly. Not only did it raise questions of credibility, it caused the St. Joseph News Press to change its endorsement to Republican Tom Cole-man, who already enjoyed the support of the district’s other major newspaper, The Kansas City Star. Coleman won the 23-county race, with 59 percent of the vote – the first time a Republican had won the district in more than 20 years.

From his 29th floor office in Kansas City’s Commerce Tower, Maxfield re-luctantly talked about his abortive race. “I never advertised the fact that I was married,” he said, “but I never hid it either. When people asked me about it, I always told the truth.”

Maxfield says he intends, for the time being, to stay in Kansas City, where he has been a business associate of Lamar Hunt. Maxfield and Hunt jointly owned several million dollars worth of Dallas land, which they sold in 1972. Their association continued in Kansas City, where Maxfield earned a very large commission for securing land for Hunt’s amusement park, Worlds of Fun. Max-field, Hunt and Burlington Northern founded a holding company, Great Midwest, which for several years was Maxfield’s main interest. He has sold out of the Kansas City company, and now concentrates on his investments, while spending much of his time spreading the Maxfield view of economics. He sends out economic newsletters, and occasionally speaks about his views on economics, including a recent appearance in Dallas before the Young President’s Club. Maxfield says he doesn’t know whether he is through with attempts at elective politics. He is now 0 for 2, having also lost a 1968 Dallas County state legislative race against Joe Ratliff.


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