Tom Nugent Led the Populist Charge in 1890’s

In a speech at San Marcos on July 21, 1893, Tom Nugent, charismatic leader of the People’s Party, blasted the Democratic Party as “an empty shell.”

The former preacher ran a strong third in the 1892 race for governor with a quarter of the vote.  Two years later, Nugent put the fear of God in the dominant Democrats with a second-place showing and 36 percent of the turnout.  But his death in 1896 at the age of 54 took the wind out of the Populists’ sails.

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