Toledo, Ohio (JFK+50) Speaking here in Toledo fifty-four years ago today, November 4, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the Democratic candidate for President of the United States, told his supporters that whoever won Ohio would be elected.
The Senator said:
"This state is key. Whoever carries Ohio will carry the United States. So give us your hand, your voice, your vote."*
JFK was certainly right about the importance of the state of Ohio in presidential elections, but he was proven wrong about the state making a difference in 1960. Senator Kennedy lost Ohio's 25 electoral votes to Vice-President Richard M. Nixon, but won the election.
Mr. Kennedy had begun his last busy day of campaigning in Virginia, where he spoke in Norfolk and Roanoke.
During his appearance in Norfolk, JFK said...
"The light is in the window. Massachusetts and Virginia both went wrong in the last eight years, but the people of Virginia have begun to look to the future."
And in Roanoke, Senator Kennedy said....
"This state and country is going to have to do better. That is the real issue. If you are satisfied, Mr. Nixon is your candidate. But if you share my view that the Republican Party is not equipped...to lead...in a changing...time, you should place your confidence in the Democratic Party."
With Election Day just four days away, Senator Kennedy concluded his busy day in Chicago where he said...
"This campaign (ends) and on Tuesday you have to make your judgment...not merely about the...candidates...but...about yourselves, what you believe, what you stand for...as citizens..."
JFK went on win Illinois, but by only .19% of the popular vote. The Democratic nominee lost both Ohio and Virginia, but nonetheless narrowly won the election by an electoral vote of 303 to 219.
*OHIO has been carried by the winner in every presidential election since 1964. Barack Obama won Ohio by 5% in 2008 and 3% in 2012. George W. Bush won Ohio by 3% in 2000 and 2% in 2004. While Ohio had 25 electoral votes in 1960, that number has dropped to 18.