Milwaukee, Wisconsin (JFK+50) Fifty-five years ago today, January 21, 1960, Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy announced in a press conference held here in Milwaukee that he would run in the Wisconsin Presidential Preference Primary to be held on April 5th.
The Senator, accompanied by his wife Jacqueline, also announced he would enter the Nebraska Primary as well.
According to Portal Wisconsin, the state's Democratic primary proved to be "a primary that mattered."
PW argues that JFK's opponent in the state, Senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey of Minnesota, "was known as our third senator." In contrast, JFK was "a stranger from New England."
While this was indeed a challenge for the Kennedy campaign, it was also an opportunity to "beat Humphrey in the Minnesotan's back yard" while "establishing himself as a national candidate."
The results in Wisconsin, as well as other primaries, proved Senator Kennedy's vote-getting ability.
The Wisconsin results were...
KENNEDY 476,000 (56%)
HUMPHREY 366,753 (44%)
Despite the victory, Democratic party leaders still had reservations about the young Massachusetts senator. They were concerned that his margin of victory was boosted by his votes from heavily Catholic voting precincts.
Wisconsin was JFK's 2nd primary victory. He won New Hampshire with 85% of the vote.
Despite his primary win in Wisconsin, JFK lost the state in the general election to Vice-President Richard M. Nixon.
JFK would go on to win the Nebraska Primary with 89% of the vote. JFK did even better in his home state, winning the Massachusetts Democratic Primary with 92%.
When it was all said and done, JFK polled 1,847,259 votes in the 1960 Democratic Primaries well ahead of Governor Pat Brown of California who polled 1,354,031.