By the time Leonard Schmitt decided to campaign against Sen. Joseph McCarthy in 1952 for U.S. Senate, McCarthy was a household name.
The red-baiting senator from Grand Chute had built a hound-dog reputation of being able to sniff out supposed communists he claimed were working in the state government.
His lies and scare tactics catapulted him to a position of power in the U.S. Senate. Beguiled and duped voters ensured McCarthy’s reelection in 1952. Schmitt, a devout Republican, eluded McCarthy’s enchantment and hung his campaign on sharp critiques of his congressman.
WHYsconsin received a listener question asking about who Schmitt was. Research into historical documents shows a man overflowing with integrity, impatient with liars and a big fan of the “little fellow.”
Schmitt was born on a Wisconsin farm and moved to Merrill with his family at age 11. He worked in a barbershop and played semi-professional baseball with the Madison Blues while attending school at the University of…
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