The Chronicle -

By Finn J.D. John
For The Creswell Chronicle 

Oregon was John F. Kennedy's make-or-break state in 1960 primary

Offbeat Oregon History


July 5, 2018

Image: Marion County Historical Society

Sen. John F. Kennedy greets Mrs. Mary M. Barr at the Salem airport on Sept. 7, 1960.

As the 1960 Democratic presidential primary neared, Sen. John F. Kennedy was looking at Oregon with increasing apprehension.

At that time, Oregon was the first Western state to hold a mandatory primary - in which every candidate appeared on the ballot whether he wanted to be or not. That position, combined with the state's well-deserved reputation as an electoral maverick, made it a rather daunting prospect.

Oregon had, over the previous decade or two, smashed other well-positioned would-be presidents' hopes. In 1948, popular Minnesota governor Harold Stassen looked like he had a great shot...

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