Wednesday, November 4, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 5, No. 1764


Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Sixty-three 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."

Lodge, like JFK, was a World War II 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."


"Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero," by Chris Matthews, Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011.JFK UPSETS LODGE,  ELECTED TO UNITED STATES SENATE