Monday, November 4, 2013



Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) 61 years ago today, November 4, 1952, Congressman John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Republican Henry Cabot Lodge in the race for a seat representing the state of Massachusetts in the United States Senate.

Senator Lodge, the incumbent, lost by only 70,000 votes out of more than 2.3 million votes cast.

The Lodge name carried so much weight in the Commonwealth that the following phrase was once written by a graduate of Holy Cross...

"In the land of the bean and the cod,
  The Cabots speak only to the Lodges
  And the Lodges only to God."

Ironically, Henry Cabot Lodge's grandfather defeated JFK's grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, in a U.S. Senate race.

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., like JFK, was a WWII combat hero, having captured, "single-handedly,"  a German patrol.

The KENNEDY CAMPAIGN seemed doomed until brother Bobby, who had a "talent for organization,"  was brought in as campaign manger.

Another major contribution to JFK's 1952 Senate campaign were tea parties given primarily for women voters by JFK's mother Rose and sisters, Eunice, Pat and Jean.

JFK aide, Kenneth O'Donnell described the tea parties this way...

"Nobody went to one who didn't fill out a card.  We had them in every community (and) they became competitive events..."

Chris Matthews writes...

"The teas were aimed at winning the hearts of the working class, and also as a means of identifying and organizing the Democratic voter base."

On election night, however, initial returns pointed to a Lodge victory.  The mood was gloomy at Kennedy headquarters, but then between 3 and 4 a.m., the word came that JFK had won the city of Worcester by 5,000 votes.  Within 3 or 4 hours, Lodge conceded.  He graciously came over to shake Jack's hand.

The final vote was...

J. F. KENNEDY:       1,211,984
H. C. LODGE:            1,141,247

Mr. Kennedy became only the 3rd Democrat ever elected to the Senate from Massachusetts.

JFK's win was a bright spot for the Democrats on the day of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential election victory in both Massachusetts and the Nation.

As Chris Matthews put it...

"He'd taken on the best and beaten the best."

Later, when asked why he lost the 1952 race to JFK, Lodge answered...

"It was those damn tea parties."

JFK and Henry Cabot Lodge
Photo by Abbie Rowe
JFK Library Photo (1961)


"Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero," by Chris Matthews, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011.


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy, projected to be the Democrat's choice for President in 1960, was re-elected to his seat in the United States Senate 55 years ago today, November 4, 1958, by nearly 750,000 votes.

Senator Kennedy won by the widest margin in the history of the state.

The final vote was...

 J.F. KENNEDY (D): 1,362,926
 V.J. CELESTE (R):     488, 318

The Senator's brother, Edward M. "Teddy" Kennedy, was campaign manager.

Chris Matthews attributes JFK one-sided re-election victory to Ken O'Donnell and Larry O'Brien.  Chris writes...

"Not only had they delivered the goods; they'd done so without taking up much of Jack's precious time."


Santa Monica, California (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy's sister, Patricia*,  married to popular actor Peter Lawford, gave birth to a baby girl 55 years ago today, November 4, 1958.

The birth of Victoria Francis Lawford, at St. John's Hospital here in Santa Monica, came on the same day that her uncle Jack won re-election to the United States Senate.

The baby was named Victoria in honor of JFK's Senate victory and  Francis after family friend, Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra.

Victoria married Robert Beebe Pender, Jr. in 1987.  

*Patricia Kennedy Lawford (1924-2006) was the 6th of the 9 children of Joe and Rose Kennedy.  She was born in Brookline, MA and graduated from Rosemont College.  When she died at age 82, Pat was survived by 4 children and 10 grandchildren.

Pat Kennedy Lawford  and JFK


Chicago, Illinois (JFK+50) Barack Obama of Illinois defeated John McCain of Arizona 5 years ago, November 4, 2008, and would become the 44th President of the United States.

The final electoral vote was...

B. Obama  365 
J. McCain  173

The popular vote was...

B. Obama  69.5 million
J. McCain  59.9 million

The President-elect spoke to thousands of supporters in Grant Park in Chicago.

President-elect Barack Obama
Chicago's Grant Park
November 4, 2008
Photo by Gabbec

Barack Obama, the 1st African-American to be elected to the high office, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and was a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

Obama worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and was an instructor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.

He was elected to the United States Senate in 2004.