Saturday, July 9, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2004


Los Angeles, California (JFK+50) The song goes "California, here I come, right back where I started from," but while Senator John F. Kennedy's political career began in Massachusetts, it was here in Los Angeles where he arrived 56 years ago, July 9, 1960, as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party for President of the United States.

Back in those days, they would have just called him the favorite.  In today's media-driven climate, however, JFK would be called the presumptive nominee. But then again, maybe he wasn't necessarily so presumptive as Donald or Hillary.

Despite being the favorite, Senator Kennedy still faced strong opposition within his own party.  Other candidates included Edmund G. Brown, Sr. of California, Michael V. DiSalle of Ohio, George H. McLain of California, Wayne Morse of Oregon, George Smathers of Florida, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois and Stuart Symington of Missouri.

In addition, former President Harry S Truman had expressed reservations about a Kennedy nomination and had, in fact, asked the young Senator to step aside for a more experienced candidate.  Perhaps, the old pol from Missouri might be considered a "Never Kennedy" man. 

Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt also balked at the prospect of Senator Kennedy being the party's nominee.  She would give a seconding speech for Adlai Stevenson and in her memoirs expressed misgivings about the primary system in place in 1960.  She wrote...

"the candidates spend their time running down their rivals in the same party (and) furnish a large amount of ammunition to the opposition party."

Three of the Democratic candidates had not entered any of the primaries.  They were Lyndon Johnson, Adlai Stevenson and Stuart Symington.

LBJ's supporters, including John B. Connally of Texas, brought up the issue of JFK's health saying that the young Senator suffered from Addison's Disease.

Future Watergate Committee chairman Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, a delegate at the 1960 Democratic Convention, expressed the distaste of a prospective Kennedy nomination by holding up a July 13th late edition of the Los Angeles Herald which read...


The Democratic Platform included planks on civil rights, immigration, foreign aid, the economy, and labor and tax reform.

Despite the opposition, Senator John F. Kennedy was nominated on the First Ballot with 806 votes.  His closest rival, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, received 409 votes.  JFK became the first United States Senator since Warren G. Harding in 1920 to win either party's nomination.


"The Democratic Convention of 1960," The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt, the Eleanor Roosevelt papers.

"1960 Democratic National Convention,"

"1960 Democratic Convention (Sam Ervin),"


We apologize for not being able to get out a posting yesterday.  We had one of the most severe storms ever here in East Tennessee.  It knocked our power out from 4 pm. until after Noon today.  A 100+ year old oak tree about a mile from our house was taken down and the entire roof blew off a new Dollar Tree nearby.

Senator Kennedy Arrives in Los Angeles
July 9, 1960
JFK Library Photo