Nixon in New York
Richard Nixon enjoys time with his dog, Checkers, in Central Park, New York City.
In 1963, after losing the governor’s race in California, Richard Nixon moved away from politics and his home state. He and his family relocated to New York City where he resumed his career in law. He joined the Wall Street law firm Mudge, Stern, Baldwin, and Todd which was subsequently renamed Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, and Alexander.
Before his move across the country, RN delivered a press conference that appeared to mark the unequivocal end of his political career. Shortly thereafter his political career was detailed in a documentary that aired on ABC bearing the title “The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon”, a blunt and apparently final assessment of his political career.
In a Los Angeles Times interview, RN expressed his desire to stay in California, claiming it was where he would prefer to live because of proximity to family and friends; however, he was still viewed as a Party leader in California, and the challenges of organizing and maintaining the Party without staff were becoming too taxing. He stated that he was personally spending upwards of $50,000 per year (or, roughly $380,000 adjusted for 2015) answering political mail. As a lawyer RN would be able to work without the emotional and financial stresses of political campaigning, making the move and change of career an attractive decision.
The move to New York had a profound effect on RN. In a short amount of time he was already expressing that a career in law did not have the same driving purpose as a career in public service.
This time away from his political career, which would later be known as RN’s “Wilderness Years”, offered him clarity, intellectual preparation and perspective. It would thus become the great motivator for him to resume his life in politics, ultimately leading to his decision to campaign for the presidency in 1968.