In an eulogistic piece entitled "The Quest--Not the Victory," award-winning writer Joseph P. Ellis detailed the thirty years in the life of Mississippian Charles L. Sullivan, who attempted to obtain a place in the state's political realm that he never achieved. Written shortly after Sullivan's 1979 death in a tragic plane crash, the article reviewed his life including his three separate attempts at the Mississippi governorship, asserting that, though Sullivan never claimed the title he sought after, his campaigns and their impact proved far more lasting than a term or two in the office of governor. What kind of man would inspire such praise? Why did such an admired politician never manage to win the vote of the people who spoke so favorably of him after his death? The numerous articles and pieces written about this question demonstrate the complexity of the possible answers. Although the opinions and hypotheses presented in the articles drastically differ from one another at times, some similar thoughts run through them all. When conducting a thorough inspection into the gubernatorial campaigns and losses of Charles L. Sullivan, most observers have found that, though a worthy and admirable candidate, an unfortunate combination of ill-timing, the influences of other politicians, and his persistent stand on what were then radically progressive issues formed the main reasons for his failure.
""I'll Take Mississippi": The Gubernatorial Campaigns of Charles L. Sullivan,"
The Catalyst: Vol. 1
, Article 10.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/southernmisscatalyst/vol1/iss2/10