House of Representatives Term
In 1938, Karl E. Mundt ran against Emil Loriks, a farmer from Arlington who had served six years in the state Senate for South Dakota's House of Representatives seat. Mundt had never stopped campaigning from his first campaign in 1936. For those two years he spoke wherever possible and always offered his solutions for prosperity. He supported new concepts to help farmers gain prosperity:
"My fundamental interest in this campaign, as in the last campaign, is to be of assistance in working out a solution to the problems of the farming industry upon which the fortunes of South Dakota so largely depend... The man who feeds the nation should not be forced to barter his independence in order adequately to fee his own family." 1, p23
Mundt also spoke out against monopolies and purchasing goods from foreign countries that could be purchased from Americans; he also spoke out in support of the Townsend Act which would set up old age pensions. 1
Mundt also used the tactic of polarization to help win the campaign. Mundt styled himself as a progressive and often spoke for and with other individuals who were progressives to help associate himself with them. Mundt styled Loriks as a radical and gave evidence of Loriks associating with individuals who were known radicals. However, this tactic worked against Mundt as well; Mundt was criticized for his complete lack of a military record and also for his style of speaking while Loriks had served 18 months as an army aviator.
Mundt's margin of victory was a comfortable one, but he did not win by a large amount. The final count was that Loriks had 95,353 votes while Mundt received 111,796 votes. 1, p22-28
Mundt's term in the House was distinguished by his accomplishments and his work on important issues such as UNESCO, The Buy American Bill, his work on the House Un-American Activities Committee, and his work on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
- Heidepriem, Scott. A Fair Chance for a Free People. Madison, SD: Leader Printing Company, 1988.
- "Form 'Mundt For Congress Club' In Lake County" Madison Daily Sentinel 21 Feb, 1936
- "Karl Mundt is Urged to Run For Congress" Madison Daily Sentinel 7 Jan, 1936
- Congressional Boredom. Mundt Archives, Madison, SD