Prints and Photographs Collection
Daniel's later years saw triumph and tragedy. On January 9, 1973, Governor Daniel and his wife Jean, right, attended the opening of the 63rd Texas legislature. On that day, Price Daniel, Jr., seated next to his father, became the speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
The younger Daniel had been elected to the Texas House in 1968. He rose to prominence during the Sharpstown scandal, a major upheaval in Texas government that led to exposure of much wrongdoing and a major turnover in leadership. As speaker, Price Daniel Jr. oversaw numerous measures designed to make government more accountable, including new ethics and financial-disclosure laws for public officials, a revision in the open meetings act, regulation of lobbyists, and an open-records act. For a time, his political future seemed unlimited.
Daniel stumbled in 1974, when the Constitutional Convention over which he presided ended in failure. In 1978, he ran for attorney general but was defeated by Mark White.
In 1981, Price Daniel Jr. was shot to death by his second wife Vickie, a former Dairy Queen waitress. The resulting "only in Texas" murder trial of Vickie Daniel, who was represented by famed attorney Richard "Racehorse" Haynes, unleashed a storm of disclosures about the younger Daniel's private life and habits. The trial and Vickie's acquittal received national publicity and became the subject of both a book and a TV movie.