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John B. McCuish

John McCuish

Politician, newspaperman. Republican. Born: June 22, 1906, Colorado.  Died: March 12, 1962, Newton, Kansas. Served as 34th Governor of Kansas: January 3, 1957 – January 14, 1957.

None of the governors in Kansas history have had a shorter term of office than our 34th governor, John Berridge McCuish.

McCuish was born in Leadville, Colorado in 1906, and attended school in Newton before graduating from Washburn University in 1925. After graduation he became a journalist, returning to Newton in 1930 to take over the Harvey County News, which he operated until 1958.

McCuish was extremely active in Republican politics in Harvey County, and in 1954, was elected lieutenant governor when Fred Hall of Dodge City was elected to the governor's office. It was as lieutenant governor that McCuish became involved in what has come to be known as the "Political Triple Play" involving Governor Hall and William Smith, the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

The incumbent Governor Hall had been defeated in the Republican primary in 1956, but he saw a chance to retain a powerful position in Kansas politics when Chief Justice Smith resigned from the court due to ill health. On January 3, 1957, shortly before the end of his term, Hall resigned as governor, thereby elevating Lieutenant Governor McCuish to the state's highest office. McCuish obliged by immediately appointing Hall to the newly vacated Supreme Court seat. This "triple play," while perfectly legal, nevertheless was considered by many to be highly unethical. In filling out the remainder of Fred Hall's term, John McCuish served as governor of the state of Kansas for 11 days.

Entry: McCuish, John B.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: December 2004

Date Modified: March 2013

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