Thursday, September 3, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1702


San Francisco, California (JFK+50) On this day fifty-five years ago, September 3, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy, Democratic candidate for POTUS, was asked at a news conference, held at the airport here in San Francisco, if Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, his running-mate, would help win the South.

Senator Kennedy responded...

"I think we are going to have a hard fight.  I would say (it will be) hard in all parts of the United States.  I look with some hope...but I think that many of the Southern States are going to have a close contest."

JFK went on to say...

"The Vice President (Richard M. Nixon) has been down there, and has gotten a warm reception.  Senator (Barry) Goldwater has been campaigning effectively in several Southern States."

The Senator refused to speculate on whether or not he would carry "all the Southern states" adding "I have not been down South yet." 

So let's take a look at the results of the 1960 presidential election to see how the KENNEDY-JOHNSON (D) ticket came out.

Although it was close, JFK-LBJ took Texas (24) along with  Arkansas (8)*, Georgia (12), Louisiana (10), North Carolina (14),  and South Carolina (8). Alabama split her vote & the Democrats took (5) for a total of 81.

NIXON-LODGE (R) carried Florida (10), Kentucky (10), Tennessee (11), and Virginia (12) for a total of 43.

Independent candidate HARRY BYRD of Virginia split with K-J in Alabama (6) and carried Mississippi (8) for a total of 14.

If LBJ had not been on the 1960 Democratic ticket, one could argue that JFK would not have carried TEXAS.  If that would have been the only state affected, then KENNEDY would have still defeated Nixon 279-243.  JFK would have won the Presidency by a mere 10 electoral votes.

In 1964, LBJ won 90 electoral votes in the South although BARRY GOLDWATER (R) carried South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.  In 1968, HUBERT HUMPHREY (D) carried only Texas while GEORGE WALLACE (American Independent Party) won Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi while RICHARD NIXON (R) won the rest.

In 1972, NIXON (R) won all but 1 electoral vote in the South.  In 1976, JIMMY CARTER (D) won all Southern states except Virginia.  In 1980, RONALD REAGAN (R) won all Southern states except Georgia.

The term SOLID SOUTH applies to the years 1877-1964 when Southern states were dominated by white Democrats who shared common interests.  They solidly supported Democratic candidates.  The period began with the end of Reconstruction and ended with passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

*Arkansas was carried by the Democratic presidential candidate in every election from 1876 to 1964.


"Press Conference of Senator John F. Kennedy, San Francisco, CA Airport, September 3, 1960," The American Presidency Project, John Woolley and Gerhard Peters,

President Kennedy & Vice-President Johnson
The White House
August 31, 1961
Photo by Abbie Rowe
JFK Library Image