Meg Heckman

Sep 11, 2020

Political Godmother

Nackey Scripps Loeb and the Newspaper That Shook the Republican Party

Potomac Books 2020

Despite her nearly two decades as the publisher of the largest newspaper in a politically pivotal state, the role of Nackey Scripps Loeb in American political and media history has been unjustly forgotten. In Political Godmother: Nackey Scripps Loeb and the Newspaper That Shook the Republican Party (Potomac Books, 2020), Meg Heckman describes the ways in which she shaped both journalism in New Hampshire and presidential politics in America. An heiress to the Scripps publishing empire, Nackey enjoyed a childhood that was privileged yet unorthodox. After a first marriage ended acrimoniously, she married William Loeb, the right-wing publisher of the Manchester Union-Leader, and together they ran the newspaper from their ranch in Nevada. After the twin tragedies of a crippling car accident and the death of her husband from cancer, Nackey took over the newspaper and maintained both its independence and its stridently conservative voice. As Heckman explains, the newspaper’s location in the state hosting the nation’s first presidential primary gave Nackey an outsized political influence, one which she used to promote conservative Republican presidential candidates, most notably Pat Buchanan in his disruptive primary challenge to President George H. W. Bush in 1992.

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