Rush Dew Holt

Charleston Gazette
November 3, 1952

Blizzard Roasts Rush Holt For Spurning Debate Offer

William Blizzard, president of UMW District 17, nettled at Rush D. Holt's refusal to debate because "Blizzard has been been [sic] tried for treason," accused Holt yesterday of being a traitor to "coal miners and working people of West Virginia."

The colorful labor leader's angry words came after he publicly challenged Holt to a debate with him and the Republican gubernatorial candidate refused because of the treason charge.

Blizzard, long affiliated with the UMW movement, was charged with treason in the early 1920s. He was arrested after labor's violent battle with authorities while trying to organize Logan County coal miners.

Blizzard said Holt's "treason to the working man" was evidenced by his anti-labor record in general and his "dickering with Nazi agents" in particular.

"For those who may not know," Blizzard said, "It is true that I was tried for treason and thrown into jail with hundreds of other coal miners under Republican Gov. Ephriam Morgan.

"Our crime was that we wanted the UMW in West Virginia, and a group of coal operators thought we should be jailed and hanged for it. A jury of workers and farming people acquitted me of the treason charge in 1922.

"I am sure they will find Rush D. Holt guilty of treason on Nov. 4, 1952. If the FBI had been on the job prior to World War II, he might have already been found guilty."

Calling Holt's reply a "lame excuse," Blizzard, obviously referring to his previous statement that "Holt is a streamlined skunk with a fluid drive," had this to say:

"When you get too close to a skunk's hide, he always turns up his tail and runs, making a defense by throwing as bad a stench as possible," Blizzard said.

The UMW leader pointed out that West Virginia law permits all employes, on written demand, to have at least three hours of free time, with pay, to vote on Election Day.

"If," said Blizzard, "the coal companies refuse a written demand, I advise all coal miners not to work on Election Day. We don't want to let Rush Holt bring the days of Ephriam Morgan back to West Virginia."

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