Sometime during 1911, Tom and Louise began to grow apart. Each became more engrossed in their own pursuits. Involvement in each others projects tended to strain the relationship even more. To be sure, the marriage continued, but the intimacy, muted because of Louise's physical frailty and Tom's restless energy became even more distant.
Louise continued her activities in loaning money for development around the University neighborhood. She also continued an aggressive building program of rental units in the same area. Louise could always be counted upon to support a good project or extend assistance to a young student in need. No one will ever know the full extent of her philanthropy because she gave so much money anonymously.
Tom approved of and sometimes recommended worthy causes, but for the immediate future, his ambitions were drawn decidedly toward politics. The early years of the Twentieth Century's second decade represented heady times for Arizona and the Old Pueblo. The Federal Government had authorized in 1910 the calling of a Constitutional Convention to prepare for statehood.
On February 14, 1912, Arizona became the forty-eighth state. As the statehood drama was playing out its final acts, turmoil in the National Republican Party provided some local political drama. Theodore Roosevelt, a favorite among local conservationists, progressives, and veterans of the Rough Riders, bolted the party and announced his intentions to run as a independent under the banner of the Progressive or "Bull Moose" Party.
Tom Marshall heeded the call. That summer, he was among the delegates who gathered in Chicago to launch the Roosevelt candidacy. He treasured the formal portrait taken in Chicago and saved the convention paraphernalia. He returned to Arizona to spread the message and worked hard to see Roosevelt elected president. That was not to be, however, and the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, won the election.
Even after Roosevelt lost the election, Tom continued his interest in politics and the Progressive Party. Two years later, in June 1914, while Louise had her annual summer visit with her mother in Massachusetts, she received a telegram from Tom.
The message indicated that he had been approached by the Party to run as its candidate for Governor of Arizona. He was requesting her blessing and support for the effort. Louise sent back word that she would not like for him to be a candidate. The party did not take the rebuke without a response.
On July 1, Louise received yet another Western Union message from J. L. B. Alexander, State Chairman of the Progressive Party. The message spoke of the party's confidence in Tom Marshall as a candidate:
"Mr. Marshall has furnished us a copy of your telegram to him relative to his becoming a candidate for Governor of Arizona at the coming November election on the Progressive Party ticket. Which telegram has caused him to hesitate to make the race feeling that he would not like to run without your unqualified approval. We consider that Mr. Marshall's candidacy for governor is essential at this time to the welfare and promotion of the principles of the Progressive Party in Arizona. His chances for election are excellent and we feel confident of his success, he will not only have the full support of the Progressives, but also that of the independent voters in Arizona as well as that of many of the best Democrats and Republicans who desire a change in the present administration of our state affairs.
"Mr. Marshall's high character and reputation for honest and fair dealings which he so richly enjoys among his neighbors will not the least be lowered or affected by running for Governor, but on the contrary, he will be brought into prominence before the people of the state and honor to him as well as to you. We know of no man who is better equipped than he to champion the principles of the Progressive Party which are so necessary to the well being of the people of our country.
"Knowing your sympathy with the principles of the party and your deep interest in the welfare of the people of Arizona, we appeal to you to reconsider your decision and give your unqualified approval to Mr. Marshall's candidacy. We sincerely trust that you will at once wire at our expense your consent to him and also to J. L. B. Alexander, State Chairman of Progressive Party in Phoenix.
"We have Mr. Marshall's permission to communicate with you direct concerning this matter."
The telegram was signed by ten prominent Arizonans including, Dwight Heard, John C. Greenway and Thomas D. Molloy. Louise was not moved by this gallant appeal and her consent was not forthcoming.
Louise never clarified her opposition to Tom's candidacy. She did believe that Tom went from project to project, never finishing anyone before a new enthusiasm took his fancy.
Louise later wrote, "From 1914 or 1915 to 1918, Mr. Marshall became interested in reform work and never again paid the slightest attention to collecting rents or repairs. He rarely went near the houses. He got the idea somehow that men of his wealth and position never worked except at an executive's desk, and refused to look after the rental property. It all fell upon me."
The "reform work" Louise mentioned was the temperance movement. Tom had good reason to take part in that effort; he could remember how his mother had suffered from his two abusive, alcoholic stepfathers. Tom loved giving speeches. He enjoyed traveling all over the state to give talks on both Progressive politics and the temperance movement. Together with a 1916 graduate from the University by the name of Grady Gammage, Tom put his energy into politics. The relationship with Gammage would continue for many years.